Deuterated Liquid Crystals - design and synthesis of deuterium labelled 4,4ʺ-dialkyl-2′,3′-difluoro-[1,1′:4′,1ʺ]terphenyls using batch and continuous flow systems
The high interest of isotopically labelled compounds is induced by two important factors: (i) improvement of highly sensitive and precise analytical methods for isotope identification and (ii) development of new synthetic approaches for isotopically labelled compounds. However, there is still a lack of efficient and cheap methods for the design of deuterium labelled liquid crystalline materials. Herein, the continuous flow system was adapted for the synthesis of deuterated Liquid Crystals using the H-Cube Pro reactor, where deuterium gas was generated in situ from heavy water. We designed and developed the synthesis of homologous series of 4,4ʺ-dialkyl-2′,3′-difluoro-[1,1′:4′,1ʺ]terphenyls where deuterium atoms are placed at carbon α and carbon β positions or only at carbon α positions of alkyl terminal chains. The synthetic strategy involves mainly selective deuteration reactions of C≡C bonds as well as reduction of carbonyl groups C=O using batch or continuous flow conditions. Theoretical calculation and experimental study show that deuterium labelled Liquid Crystals exhibit increased photochemical stability compared to protonated ones. Moreover, the comparison of physicochemical properties between deuterium labelled and non-labelled 4,4ʺ-dialkyl-2′,3′-difluoro-[1,1′:4′,1ʺ]terphenyls is presented. This work provides efficient methods to obtain deuterated liquid crystalline materials with much better photochemical stability compared to their fully protonated isotopologues.