The ground- and excited-state interactions of polymethylene-linked 1,8-naphthalimide–viologen dyads with calf-thymus DNA have been investigated. By virtue of the covalently attached viologen, the compounds represent the first example of linked chromophore/cosensitizer systems in the photooxidation of duplex DNA. The compounds associate strongly with DNA. Analysis of ground-state spectral changes yield binding constants of 0.7–2.5 × 106 M−1. Upon 355 nm pulsed irradiation of the compounds in the presence of calf-thymus DNA, reduced viologen is observed within the laser pulse. Photoproducts are not observed on this time scale in the absence of DNA. Since ground-state bleaching of the naphthalimide was not observed, the results suggest that DNA nucleobases are the species being oxidized. The quantum efficiency of radical production increases with the extent of binding to DNA. Under conditions where the compounds are bound predominantly to DNA, the quantum efficiencies were found to range from 0.02 to 0.03. Although small, the values represent a substantial increase in charge-separation yield compared to 1,8-naphthalimide compounds that lack the covalently attached viologen. The mechanism of radical production and effect of number of intervening methylenes are discussed.
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Vol. 73 • No. 3