Single-step electron transfer on the nanometer scale: Ultra-fast charge shift in strongly coupled zinc porphyrin-gold porphyrin dyads

Jérôme Fortage, Julien Boixel, Errol Blart, Leif Hammarström, Hans Christian Becker, Fabrice Odobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The synthesis, electrochemical properties, and photoinduced electron transfer processes of a series of three novel zinc(II)-gold(III) bisporphyrin dyads (ZnP-S-AuP+) are described. The systems studied consist of two trisaryl porphyrins connected directly in the meso position via an alkyne unit to tert-(phenylenethynylene) or penta(phenylenethynylene) spacers. In these dyads, the estimated center to center interporphyrin separation distance varies from 32 to 45 Å. The absorption, emission, and electrochemical data indicate that there are strong electronic interactions between the linked elements, thanks to the direct attachment of the spacer on the porphyrin ring through the alkyne unit. At room temperature in toluene, light excitation of the zinc porphyrin results in almost quantitative formation of the charge shifted state +ZnP-S-AuP, whose lifetime is in the order of hundreds of picoseconds. In this solvent, the charge-separated state decays to the ground state through the intermediate population of the zinc porphyrin triplet excited state. Excitation of the gold porphyrin leads instead to rapid energy transfer to the triplet ZnP. In dichloromethane the charge shift reactions are even faster, with time constants down to 2 ps, and may be induced also by excitation of the gold porphyrin. In this latter solvent, the longest charge-shifted lifetime (τ = 2.3 ns) was obtained with the penta(phenylenethynylene) spacer. The charge shift reactions are discussed in terms of bridge-mediated super-exchange mechanisms as electron or hole transfer. These new bis-porphyrin arrays, with strong electronic coupling, represent interesting molecular systems in which extremely fast and efficient long-range photoinduced charge shift occurs over a long distance. The rate constants are two to three orders of magnitude larger than for corresponding ZnP-AuP+ dyads linked via mesophenyl groups to oligo-phenyleneethynylene spacers. This study demonstrates the critical impact of the attachment position of the spacer on the porphyrin on the electron transfer rate, and this strategy can represent a useful approach to develop molecular photonic devices for long-range charge separations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3467-3480
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 7 2008


  • Electron transfer
  • Femtosecond spectroscopy
  • Gold
  • Molecular wires
  • Porphyrinoids
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry

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