Ethynylated 2H-cyclohepta[b]furan-2-ones 5–15 have been prepared by Pd-catalyzed alkynylation of 3-iodo-5-isopropyl-2H-cyclohepta[b]furan-2-one (2) with the corresponding ethynylarenes or the reaction of 2-iodothiophene with 3-ethynyl-5-isopropyl-2H-cyclohepta[b]furan-2-one (4) under Sonogashira–Hagihara conditions. Compounds 5–15 reacted with tetracyanoethylene in a formal [2+2] cycloaddition reaction, followed by ring opening of the initially formed [2+2] cycloadducts, cyclobutenes, to afford the corresponding 1,1,4,4-tetracyanobutadienyl (TCBD) chromophores 16–26 in excellent yields. The intramolecular charge-transfer interactions between the 2H-cyclohepta[b]furan-2-one ring and TCBD acceptor moiety were investigated by UV/Vis spectroscopy and theoretical calculations. The redox behavior of the novel TCBD derivatives 16–26 was examined by cyclic voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetry, which revealed multistep electrochemical reduction properties, depending on the number of TCBD units in the molecule. Moreover, a significant color change was observed by UV/Vis spectroscopy under electrochemical reduction conditions.
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