Photoinitiated electron transfer in zinc porphyrin-perylenediimide cruciforms and their self-assembled oligomers

Sarah M. Mickley Conron, Leah E. Shoer, Amanda L. Smeigh, Annie Butler Ricks, Michael R Wasielewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Two X-shaped, cruciform electron donor2-acceptor- acceptor′2 (D2-A-A′2) molecules, 1 and 2, in which D = zinc 5-phenyl-10,15,20-tripentylporphyrin (ZnTPnP) or zinc 5,10,15,20-tetraphenylporphyrin (ZnTPP), respectively, A = pyromellitimide (PI), and A′ = perylene-3,4:9,10-bis(dicarboximide) (PDI), were prepared to study self-assembly motifs that promote photoinitiated charge separation followed by electron and hole transport through π-stacked donors and acceptors. PDI secondary electron acceptors were chosen because of their propensity to form self-ordered, π-stacked assemblies in solution, while the ZnTPnP and ZnTPP donors were selected to test the effect of peripheral substituent steric interactions on the π-stacking characteristics of the cruciforms. Small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering measurements in toluene solution reveal that 1 assembles into a π-stacked structure having an average of 5 ± 1 molecules, when [1] ≅ 10-5 M, while 2 remains monomeric. Photoexcitation of the π-stacked structure of 1 results in formation of ZnTPnP•+-PI-PDI•- in τCS1 = 0.3 ps, which is nearly 100-fold faster than the formation of ZnTPnP•+-PI•- in a model system lacking the PDI acceptor. The data are consistent with a self-assembled structure for 1 in which the majority of the intermolecular interactions have the ZnTPnP donor of one monomer cofacially π-stacked with the PDI acceptor of a neighboring monomer in a crisscrossed fashion. In contrast, 2 remains monomeric in toluene, so that photoexcitation of ZnTPP results in the charge separation reaction sequence: 1*ZnTPP-PI-PDI → ZnTPP•+-PI •--PDI → ZnTPP•+-PI-PDI•-, where τCS1 = 33 ps and τCS2 = 239 ps. The perpendicular orientation of ZnTPnP and ZnTPP relative to PDI in 1 and 2 is designed to decrease the porphyrin-PDI distance without greatly decreasing the overall number of bonds linking them. This serves to decrease the Coulomb energy penalty required to produce D•+-PI-PDI•- relative to the corresponding linear D-PI-PDI array, while retaining the weak electronic coupling necessary to achieve long-lived charge separation, as evidenced by τCR = 24 ns for ZnTPP•+-PI-PDI •-.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2195-2204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 21 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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