An electron donor-acceptor-donor molecule consisting of two porphyrin donors rigidly attached to the two-electron acceptor N,N′-diphenyl-3,4,9, 10-perylenebis(dicarboximide) acts as a light intensity-dependent molecular switch on a picosecond time scale. Excitation of the porphyrins within this molecule with subpicosecond laser pulses results in single or double reduction of the acceptor depending on the light intensity. The singly and doubly reduced electron acceptors absorb light strongly at 713 and 546 nanometers, respectively. Because these absorption changes are produced solely by electron transfers, this molecular switch effectively has no moving parts and switches significantly faster than photochromic molecules that must undergo changes in molecular structure.
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