Solvent independent symmetry-breaking charge separation in terrylenediimide guanine-quadruplex nanoparticles

Natalia E. Powers-Riggs, Xiaobing Zuo, Ryan M. Young, Michael R. Wasielewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


G-quadruplex assemblies are a promising tool for self-assembling π-stacked chromophore arrays to better understand their photophysics. We have shown that coupling a single guanine moiety to terrylenediimide (TDI) produces a structure (GTDI) that self-assembles in tetrahydrofuran (THF) into a nearly monodisperse guanine-quadruplex structure having 16 π-stacked layers (GTDI4)16. The TDI surfaces were determined to have a high degree of cofacial overlap and underwent quantitative symmetry-breaking charge separation (SB-CS) upon photoexcitation. Here, we more deeply examine the relationship between solvent and aggregate formation and develop insights into structure-function relationships over a variety of solvent polarities and hydrogen-bonding capabilities. At high concentrations, GTDI assembles into guanine-quadruplex structures (GTDI4)16 in THF and toluene, as well as (GTDI4)9 in pyridine and benzonitrile. Transient absorption spectroscopy shows that SB-CS occurs in all solvents, regardless of their static dielectric constants, but the SB-CS yield is determined by structure. Solvent polarity independent SB-CS generation is also observed in GTDI films, where there is a complete absence of solvent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number204302
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number20
StatePublished - Nov 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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