Excitation energy transfer between closely spaced multichromophoric systems: effects of band mixing and intraband relaxation

C Didraga, V A Malyshev, J Knoester
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2006 September 28, 110 (38): 18818-27
We theoretically analyze the excitation energy transfer between two closely spaced linear molecular J-aggregates, whose excited states are Frenkel excitons. The aggregate with the higher (lower) exciton band edge energy is considered as the donor (acceptor). The celebrated theory of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), which relates the transfer rate to the overlap integral of optical spectra, fails in this situation. We point out that, in addition to the well-known fact that the point-dipole approximation breaks down (enabling energy transfer between optically forbidden states), also the perturbative treatment of the electronic interactions between donor and acceptor system, which underlies the Förster approach, in general loses its validity due to overlap of the exciton bands. We therefore propose a nonperturbative method, in which donor and acceptor bands are mixed and the energy transfer is described in terms of a phonon-assisted energy relaxation process between the two new (renormalized) bands. The validity of the conventional perturbative approach is investigated by comparing to the nonperturbative one; in general, this validity improves for lower temperature and larger distances (weaker interactions) between the aggregates. We also demonstrate that the interference between intraband relaxation and energy transfer renders the proper definition of the transfer rate and its evaluation from experiment a complicated issue that involves the initial excitation condition. Our results suggest that the best way of determining this transfer rate between two J-aggregates is to measure the fluorescence kinetics of the acceptor J-band after resonant excitation of the donor J-band.

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