Structure vs. excitonic transitions in self-assembled porphyrin nanotubes and their effect on light absorption and scattering
The optical properties of diprotonated meso-tetrakis(4-sulphonatophenyl)porphyrin (TPPS4) J-aggregates of elongated thin particles (nanotubes in solution and ribbons when deposited on solid interfaces) are studied by different polarimetric techniques. The selective light extinction in these structures, which depends on the alignment of the nanoparticle with respect to the polarization of light, is contributed by excitonic absorption bands and by resonance light scattering. The optical response as a function of the polarization of light is complex because, although the quasi-one-dimensional structure confines the local fields along the nanotube axis, there are two orthogonal excitonic bands, of H- and J-character, that can work in favor of or against the field confinement. Results suggest that resonance light scattering is the dominant effect in solid state preparations, i.e. in collective groups (bundles) of ribbons but in diluted solutions, i.e. with isolated nanotubes, the absorption at the excitonic transitions remains dominant and linear dichroism spectra can be a direct probe of the exciton orientations. Therefore, by analyzing scattering and absorption data we can determine the alignment of the excitonic bands within the nanoparticle, i.e. of the orientation of the basic 2D porphyrin architecture in the nanoparticle. This is a necessary first step for understanding the directions of energy transport, charge polarization and non-linear optical properties in these materials.