Diffusion-Facilitated Direct Determination of Intrinsic Parameters for Rapid Photoinduced Bimolecular Electron-Transfer Reactions in Nonpolar Solvents

Bimolecular fluorescence-quenching reactions involving electron-transfer between electronically excited 5,10,15,20-tetraphenyl-21<i>H</i>,23<i>H</i>-porphine (TPP*) and 1,4-benzoquinone (BQ) or 1,4-naphthoquinone (NQ) were investigated using a set of alkane solvents that enabled the rapid reaction kinetics to be probed over a wide viscosity range, while minimizing changes in other relevant solvent parameters. Relative diffusion coefficients and reaction distances were recovered directly from analysis of fluorescence decay curves measured on a nanosecond time scale. The electron transfer from TPP* to BQ requires reactant contact, consistent with tightly associated exciplex formation in these nonpolar solvents. In contrast, electron transfer from TPP* to NQ displays a clear distance dependence, indicative of reaction via a much looser noncontact exciplex. This difference is attributed to the greater steric hindrance associated with contact between the TPP*/NQ pair. The diffusion coefficients recovered from fluorescence decay curve analysis are markedly smaller than the corresponding measured bulk relative diffusion coefficients. Classical hydrodynamics theory was found to provide a satisfactory resolution of this apparent discrepancy. The calculated hydrodynamic radii of TPP and NQ correlate very well with the van der Waals values. The hydrodynamic radius obtained for BQ is a factor of 6 times smaller than the van der Waals value, indicative of a possible tight cofacial geometry in the (TPP<sup>+</sup>/BQ<sup>–</sup>)* exciplex. The present work demonstrates the utility of a straightforward methodology, based on widely available instrumentation and data analysis, that is broadly applicable for direct determination of kinetic parameter values for a wide variety of rapid bimolecular fluorescence quenching reactions in fluid solution.