Monosulfonated AZO dyes: A crystallographic study of the molecular structures of the free acid, anionic and dianionic forms

Alan R. Kennedy, Linda K. Conway, Jennifer B.A. Kirkhouse, Karen M. McCarney, Olivier Puissegur, Edward Staunton, Simon J. Teat, John E. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crystallographic studies of monosulfonated azo dyes have concentrated on the salt forms that contain the azo anion. Here we present a study that compares the structures of these anions with protonated free acid forms and with doubly deprotonated dianion forms. To this end, the new single crystal diffraction structures of 13 systematically related free acid forms of monosulfonated azo dyes are presented, together with three new structures of doubly deprotonated forms and two new structures of Na salt forms of azo anions. No structures of dideprotonated monosulfonated azo dyes have previously been reported and this paper also reports the first crystal structure of an azo dye with a hydronium cation. The geometries of the free acid, anion and dianion forms are compared to literature equivalents. It is shown that protonation of the azo bond gives predictable bond lengthening and shortening, which is of a greater magnitude than similar effects caused by azo-hydrazone tautomerisation, or the smaller again effects caused by the resonance electron donation from O or N based substituents. The dianion containing structures have twisted dianion geometries that can be understood based on the resonance effects of the phenoxide groups and upon the needs to bond to a relatively high number of metal cations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number662
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Coordination polymer
  • Crystalline polymorphism
  • Crystallography
  • Dyes
  • Free acid
  • Hydronium
  • Salt forms
  • Sulfonate


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