Self-assembly of supramolecular light-harvesting arrays from covalent multi-chromophore perylene-3,4:9,10=bis(dicarboximide) building blocks

Michael J. Ahrens, Louise E. Sinks, Boris Rybtchinski, Wenhao Liu, Brooks A. Jones, Jovan M. Giaimo, Alexy V. Gusev, Andrew J. Goshe, David M. Tiede, Michael R. Wasielewski

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We report on two multi-chromophore building blocks that self-assemble in solution and on surfaces into supramolecular light-harvesting arrays. Each building block is based on perylene-3,4:9,10-bis(dicarboximide) (PDI) chromophores. In one building block, N-phenyl PDI chromophores are attached at their para positions to both nitrogens and the 3 and 6 carbons of pyromellitimide to form a cross-shaped molecule (PI-PDI4). In the second building block, N-phenyl PDI chromophores are attached at their para positions to both nitrogens and the 1 and 7 carbons of a fifth PDI to produce a saddle-shaped molecule (PDI5). These molecules self-assemble into partially ordered dimeric structures (PI-PDI4)2 and (PDI5)2 in toluene and 2-methyltetrahydrofuran solutions with the PDI molecules approximately parallel to one another primarily due to π-π interactions between adjacent PDI chromophores. On hydrophobic surfaces, PDI5 grows into rod-shaped nanostructures of average length 130 nm as revealed by atomic force microscopy. Photoexcitation of these supramolecular dimers in solution gives direct evidence of strong π-π interactions between the excited PDI chromophore and other PDI molecules nearby based on the observed formation of an excimer-like state in <130 fs with a lifetime of about 20 ns. Multiple photoexcitations of the supramolecular dimers lead to fast singlet-singlet annihilation of the excimer-like state, which occurs with exciton hopping times of about 5 ps, which are comparable to those observed in photosynthetic light-harvesting proteins from green plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8284-8294
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - Jul 7 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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