Photonic modulation of electron transfer with switchable phase inversion

Julien Frey, Gerdenis Kodis, Stephen D. Straight, Thomas Moore, Ana Moore, Devens Gust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Photochromes may be reversibly photoisomerized between two metastable states and their properties can influence, and be influenced by, other chromophores in the same molecule through energy or electron transfer. In the photochemically active molecular tetrad described here, a porphyrin has been covalently linked to a fullerene electron acceptor, a quinoline-derived dihydroindolizine photochrome, and a dithienylethene photochrome. The porphyrin first excited singlet state undergoes photoinduced electron transfer to the fullerene to generate a charge-separated state. The quantum yield of charge separation is modulated by the two photochromes: one isomer of each quenches the porphyrin excited state, reducing the quantum yield of electron transfer to near zero. Interestingly, when the molecule is illuminated with white light, the quantum yield decreases as the white light intensity is increased, generating an out-of-phase response of the quantum yield to white light. However, when the same experiment is performed in the presence of additional, steady-state UV illumination, a phase inversion occurs. The quantum yield of electron transfer now increases with increasing white light intensity. Such effects illustrate emergent complexity in a relatively simple system and could find applications in molecular logic, photochemical labeling and drug delivery, and photoprotection for artificial photosynthetic molecules. The photochemistry leading to this behavior is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-615
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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