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Ultrafast Electron Transfer across a Nanocapsular Wall: Coumarins as Donors, Viologen as Acceptor, and Octa Acid Capsule as the Mediator

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journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Chi-Hung Chuang, Mintu Porel, Rajib Choudhury, Clemens Burda, V. Ramamurthy
Results of our study on ultrafast electron transfer (eT) dynamics from coumarins (coumarin-1, coumarin-480, and coumarin-153) incarcerated within octa acid (OA) capsules as electron donors to methyl viologen dissolved in water as acceptor are presented. Upon photoexcitation, coumarin inside the OA capsule transfers an electron to the acceptor electrostatically attached to the capsule leading to a long-lived radical–ion pair separated by the OA capsular wall. This charge-separated state returns to the neutral ground state via back electron transfer on the nanosecond time scale. This system allows for ultrafast electron transfer processes through a molecular wall from the apolar capsular interior to the highly polar (aqueous) environment on the femtosecond time scale. Employing femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy, distinct rates of both forward (1–25 ps) and backward eT (700–1200 ps) processes were measured. Further understanding of the energetics is provided using Rehm–Weller analysis for the investigated photoinduced eT reactions. The results provide the rates of the eT across a molecular wall, akin to an isotropic solution, depending on the standard free energy of the reaction. The insights from this work could be utilized in the future design of efficient electron transfer processes across interfaces separating apolar and polar environments.