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Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. Reversible CO2 binders under ambient conditions are of significant interest for multiple applications in sensing and capture technologies. In this paper, a general systematic way to evaluate CO2 receptors with π-systems is put forward. A series of receptors (five pyridine-based and one triazine-based) are evaluated as CO2 binders in terms of number of hydrogen bonding sites, strength of hydrogen bond donors, and number of nucleophilic sites. The binding of CO2 to the receptors was probed by computational models, absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry, and 1H NMR studies. Multiple solvents with varying ionic strength additives are probed to analyze the effects on CO2-bound intermediates. The receptors were screened progressively down-selecting through the different analytical techniques arriving at a promising pyridine receptor, which shows evidence of CO2 binding with each of the analytical techniques. The diaminopyridine motif demonstrates reversible CO2 binding and has convenient substitution sites for derivatization to incorporate into functional sensor systems.

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