Photophysics of graphene quantum dot assemblies with axially coordinated cobaloxime catalysts

Varun Singh, Nikita Gupta, George N. Hargenrader, Erik J. Askins, Andrew J.S. Valentine, Gaurav Kumar, Michael W. Mara, Neeraj Agarwal, Xiaosong Li, Lin X. Chen, Amy A. Cordones, Ksenija D. Glusac*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We report a study of chromophore-catalyst assemblies composed of light harvesting hexabenzocoronene (HBC) chromophores axially coordinated to two cobaloxime complexes. The chromophore-catalyst assemblies were prepared using bottom-up synthetic methodology and characterized using solid-state NMR, IR, and x-ray absorption spectroscopy. Detailed steady-state and time-resolved laser spectroscopy was utilized to identify the photophysical properties of the assemblies, coupled with time-dependent DFT calculations to characterize the relevant excited states. The HBC chromophores tend to assemble into aggregates that exhibit high exciton diffusion length (D = 18.5 molecule2/ps), indicating that over 50 chromophores can be sampled within their excited state lifetime. We find that the axial coordination of cobaloximes leads to a significant reduction in the excited state lifetime of the HBC moiety, and this finding was discussed in terms of possible electron and energy transfer pathways. By comparing the experimental quenching rate constant (1.0 × 109 s-1) with the rate constant estimates for Marcus electron transfer (5.7 × 108 s-1) and Förster/Dexter energy transfers (8.1 × 106 s-1 and 1.0 × 1010 s-1), we conclude that both Dexter energy and Marcus electron transfer process are possible deactivation pathways in CoQD-A. No charge transfer or energy transfer intermediate was detected in transient absorption spectroscopy, indicating fast, subpicosecond return to the ground state. These results provide important insights into the factors that control the photophysical properties of photocatalytic chromophore-catalyst assemblies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124903
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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