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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jan 18;134(2):988-98. doi: 10.1021/ja206894z. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Artificial light-harvesting arrays: electronic energy migration and trapping on a sphere and between spheres.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Chimie des Matériaux Moléculaires, Université de Strasbourg et CNRS (UMR 7509), Ecole Européenne de Chimie, Polymères et Matériaux, 25 rue Becquerel, 67087 Strasbourg Cedex 02, France.


A sophisticated model of the natural light-harvesting antenna has been devised by decorating a C(60) hexa-adduct with ten yellow and two blue boron dipyrromethene (Bodipy) dyes in such a way that the dyes retain their individuality and assist solubility of the fullerene. Unusually, the fullerene core is a poor electron acceptor and does not enter into light-induced electron-transfer reactions with the appended dyes, but ineffective electronic energy transfer from the excited-state dye to the C(60) residue competes with fluorescence from the yellow dye. Intraparticle electronic energy transfer from yellow to blue dyes can be followed by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and by excitation spectra for isolated C(60) nanoparticles dissolved in dioxane at 293 K and at 77 K. The decorated particles can be loaded into polymer films by spin coating from solution. In the dried film, efficient energy transfer occurs such that photons absorbed by the yellow dye are emitted by the blue dye. Films can also be prepared to contain C(60) nanoparticles loaded with the yellow Bodipy dye but lacking the blue dye and, under these circumstances, electronic energy migration occurs between yellow dyes appended to the same nanoparticle and, at higher loading, to dye molecules on nearby particles. Doping these latter polymer films with the mixed-dye nanoparticle coalesces these multifarious processes in a single system. Thus, long-range energy migration occurs among yellow dyes attached to different particles before trapping at a blue dye. In this respect, the film resembles the natural photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes, albeit at much reduced efficacy. The decorated nanoparticles sensitize amorphous silicon photocells.

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