The nonlinear properties and the photophysical behavior of two π-conjugated chromophores that incorporate an electron-deficient pyrimidine core (A) and γ-methylenepyrans as terminal donor (D) groups have been thoroughly investigated. Both dipolar and quadrupolar branching strategies are explored and rationalized on the basis of the Frenkel exciton model. Even though a cooperative effect is clearly observed if the dimensionality is increased, the nonlinear optical (NLO) response of this series is moderate if one considers the nature of the D/A couple and the size of the chromophores (as measured by the number of π electrons). This effect was attributed to a disruption in the electronic conjugation within the dyes’ scaffold for which the geometry deviates from planarity owing to a noticeable twisting of the pyranylidene end-groups. This latter structural parameter also has a strong influence on the excited-state dynamics, which leads to a very efficient fluorescence quenching.
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