Self-Assembled Light-Harvesting System from Chromophores in Lipid Vesicles

Tuba Sahin, Michelle A Harris, Pothiappan Vairaprakash, Dariusz M Niedzwiedzki, Vijaya Subramanian, Andrew P Shreve, David F Bocian, Dewey Holten, Jonathan S Lindsey
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2015 August 13, 119 (32): 10231-43
Lipid vesicles are used as the organizational structure of self-assembled light-harvesting systems. Following analysis of 17 chromophores, six were selected for inclusion in vesicle-based antennas. The complementary absorption features of the chromophores span the near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared region. Although the overall concentration of the pigments is low (~1 μM for quantitative spectroscopic studies) in a cuvette, the lipid-vesicle system affords high concentration (≥10 mM) in the bilayer for efficient energy flow from donor to acceptor. Energy transfer was characterized in 13 representative binary mixtures using static techniques (fluorescence-excitation versus absorptance spectra, quenching of donor fluorescence, modeling emission spectra of a mixture versus components) and time-resolved spectroscopy (fluorescence, ultrafast absorption). Binary donor-acceptor systems that employ a boron-dipyrrin donor (S0 ↔ S1 absorption/emission in the blue-green) and a chlorin or bacteriochlorin acceptor (S0 ↔ S1 absorption/emission in the red or near-infrared) have an average excitation-energy-transfer efficiency (ΦEET) of ~50%. Binary systems with a chlorin donor and a chlorin or bacteriochlorin acceptor have ΦEET ∼ 85%. The differences in ΦEET generally track the donor-fluorescence/acceptor-absorption spectral overlap within a dipole-dipole coupling (Förster) mechanism. Substantial deviation from single-exponential decay of the excited donor (due to the dispersion of donor-acceptor distances) is expected and observed. The time profiles and resulting ΦEET are modeled on the basis of (Förster) energy transfer between chromophores relatively densely packed in a two-dimensional compartment. Initial studies of two ternary and one quaternary combination of chromophores show the enhanced spectral coverage and energy-transfer efficacy expected on the basis of the binary systems. Collectively, this approach may provide one of the simplest designs for self-assembled light-harvesting systems that afford broad solar collection and efficient energy transfer.

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