Urea-functionalized 4-ethynylbenzenes undergo facile formal [2 + 2] cycloaddition followed by retroelectrocyclization upon reaction with tetracyanoethylene, yielding 1,1,4,4-tetracyanobuta-1,3-dienes-based push–pull chromophores. Unlike the N,N′-dialkylamino group, urea functionalization provides easy access to further functionalization on these chromophores. The resulting chromophores exhibit unexpected white light emissions apart from various inherent properties like intramolecular charge-transfer band and redox behavior.

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