ConspectusPyrazinacenes are a class of nitrogen-containing heteroacene molecules composed of linearly fused pyrazine units, which might also include dihydropyrazine groups leading to different reduced states of the compounds. While they are structurally similar to hydrocarbon acenes (e.g., pentacene) the presence of increasing numbers of N-heteroatoms introduces several different additional features of the compounds so that they can be considered for investigations beyond those suggested for acenes (i.e., organic field-effect transistors, solar cell components). Pyrazinacenes are in several ways complementary to C-H-only acenes based on the increasing stability of reduced states of the compounds with increasing numbers of fused pyrazine rings, although an acene-like electronic structure persists in the compounds so far studied. However, the introduction of multiple N atoms leads to properties that depart from C-H-only acenes. In particular, the compounds exhibit a delocalization of NH protons in extended reduced compounds and oxidation state switchability in solution and at interfaces. The presence of NH groups also allows an easy introduction of solubilizing groups at the pyrazinacene chromophore. In this Account, we will describe the preparation of extended pyrazinacenes from dipyrazino[2,3-b:2′,3′-e]pyrazine (1,4,5,8,9,10-hexaazaanthracene; N6) derivatives up to 1,4,5,6,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,16,17,18-tetradecaazaheptacene (N14) and also assess structures of the relevant compounds based on X-ray crystallographic studies. Emergent properties of the molecules include highly unusual linear tautomeric processes based on a delocalization of protons (and the corresponding formation of orbitals based on multiple adjacent N lone electron pair interactions), which suggest special transport properties based on molecular protonics. Molecules such as decazapentacene (N10) exhibit multistability of oxidation state, and this is predicted to promote the redox catalytic properties of the compounds. The oxidation-state switching of on-surface processes is also described and has been investigated using scanning tunneling microscopy. The longest known pyrazinacene chromophore (N14) exhibits amphiprotism with its state of protonation being strongly coupled to its fluorescence emission properties in the near-infrared region indicating possible uses in pH-coupled bioimaging applications. The synthesis of the pyrazinacenes is flexible and allows the preparation of symmetrically or unsymmetrically substituted derivatives for the development of more complex molecules and for control of the electronic structure of the acene unit. Overall, the pyrazinacenes represent an emerging class of highly nitrogenous heteroacenes with unique properties and excellent potential for development in different applications based on their special supramolecular properties including guest binding or interactions in biological systems.
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