This critical review covers the timely topic of carbon nanostructures—fullerenes and carbon nanotubes—in combination with metalloporphyrins as integrative components for electron-donor–acceptor ensembles. These ensembles are typically probed in condensed media and at semi-transparent electrode surfaces. In particular, we will present a comprehensive survey of a variety of covalent (i.e., nanoconjugates) and non-covalent linkages (i.e., nanohybrids) to demonstrate how to govern/fine-tune the electronic interactions in the resulting electron-donor–acceptor ensembles. In the context of covalent bridges, different spacers will be discussed, which range from pure “insulators” (i.e., amide bonds, etc.) to sophisticated “molecular wires” (i.e., p-phenylenevinylene units, etc.). Furthermore, we will elucidate the fundamental impact that these vastly different spacers may exert on the rate, efficiency, and mechanism of short- and long-range electron transfer reactions. Additionally, a series of non-covalent motifs will be described: hydrogen bonding, complementary electrostatics, π–π stacking and metal coordination—to name a few. These motifs have been successfully employed by us and our collaborators en route towards novel architectures (i.e., linear structures, tubular structures, rotaxanes, catenanes, etc.) that exhibit unique and remarkable charge transfer features.
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