Photoinduced processes in self-assembled porphyrin/perylene bisimide metallosupramolecular boxes

M Teresa Indelli, Claudio Chiorboli, Franco Scandola, Elisabetta Iengo, Peter Osswald, Frank Würthner
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2010 November 18, 114 (45): 14495-504
Two new supramolecular boxes, (ZnMC)(2)(rPBI)(2) and (ZnMC)(2)(gPBI)(2), have been obtained by axial coordination of N,N'-dipyridyl-functionalized perylene bisimide (PBI) dyes to the zinc ion centers of two 2+2 porphyrin metallacycles (ZnMC = [trans,cis,cis-RuCl(2)(CO)(2)(Zn·4'-cis-DPyP)](2)). The two molecular boxes involve PBI pillars with different substituents at the bay area: the "red" PBI (rPBI = N,N'-di(4-pyridyl)-1,6,7,12-tetra(4-tert-butylphenoxy)perylene-3,4:9,10-tetracarboxylic acid bisimide) containing tert-butylphenoxy substituents and the "green" PBI (gPBI = N,N'-di(4-pyridyl)-1,7-bis(pyrrolidin-1-yl)perylene-3,4:9,10-tetracarboxylic acid bisimide) bearing pyrrolidinyl substituents. Due to the rigidity of the modules and the simultaneous formation of four pyridine-zinc bonds, these discrete adducts self-assemble quantitatively and are remarkably stable in dichloromethane solution. The photophysical behavior of the new supramolecular boxes has been studied in dichloromethane by emission spectroscopy and ultrafast absorption techniques. A different photophysical behavior is observed for the two systems. In (ZnMC)(2)(rPBI)(2), efficient electron transfer quenching of both perylene bisimide and zinc porphyrin chromophores is observed, leading to a charge separated state, PBI(-)-Zn(+), in which a perylene bisimide unit is reduced and zinc porphyrin is oxidized. In the deactivation of the perylene bisimide localized excited state, an intermediate zwitterionic charge transfer state of type PBI(-)-PBI(+) seems to play a relevant role. In (ZnMC)(2)(gPBI)(2), singlet energy transfer from the Zn porphyrin chromophores to the perylene bisimide units occurs with an efficiency of 0.7. This lower than unity value is due to a competing electron transfer quenching, leading to the charge separated state PBI(-)-Zn(+). The distinct photophysical behavior of these two supramolecular boxes is interpreted in terms of energy changes occurring upon replacement of the "red" rPBI by "green" gPBI.

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