Ultrafast Energy-Electron Transfer Cascade in a Multichromophoric Light-Harvesting Molecular Square

A molecular square with dimensions of about 4 nm, incorporating sixteen pyrene chromophores attached to four ditopic bay-functionalized perylene bisimide chromophores, has been synthesized by coordination to four Pt(II) phosphine corner units and fully characterized via NMR spectroscopy and ESI-FTICR mass spectrometry. Steady-state and time-resolved emission as well as femtosecond transient absorption studies reveal the presence of a highly efficient (>90%) and fast photoinduced energy transfer (ken ≈ 5.0 × 109 s-1) from the pyrene to the perylene bisimide chromophores and a very fast and efficient electron transfer (>94%, ket ≈ 5 × 1011 up to 43 × 1011 s-1). Spectrotemporal parametrization indicates upper excited-state electron-transfer processes, various energy and electron-transfer pathways, and chromophoric heterogeneity. Temperature-dependent time-resolved emission spectroscopy has shown that the acceptor emission lifetime increases with decreasing temperature from which an electron-transfer barrier is obtained. The extremely fast electron-transfer processes (substantially faster and more efficient than in the free ligand) that are normally only observed in solid materials, together with the closely packed structure of 20 chromophoric units, indicate that we can consider the molecular square as a monodisperse nanoaggregate:  a molecularly defined ensemble of chromophores that partly behaves like a solid material.