The triplet excited state of Bodipy: formation, modulation and application
Boron dipyrromethene (Bodipy) is one of the most extensively investigated organic chromophores. Most of the investigations are focused on the singlet excited state of Bodipy, such as fluorescence. In stark contrast, the study of the triplet excited state of Bodipy is limited, but it is an emerging area, since the triplet state of Bodipy is tremendously important for several areas, such as the fundamental photochemistry study, photodynamic therapy (PDT), photocatalysis and triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) upconversion. The recent developments in the study of the production, modulation and application of the triplet excited state of Bodipy are discussed in this review article. The formation of the triplet state of Bodipy upon photoexcitation, via the well known approach such as the heavy atom effect (including I, Br, Ru, Ir, etc.), and the new methods, such as using a spin converter (e.g. C60), charge recombination, exciton coupling and the doubly substituted excited state, are summarized. All the Bodipy-based triplet photosensitizers show strong absorption of visible or near IR light and the long-lived triplet excited state, which are important for the application of the triplet excited state in PDT or photocatalysis. Moreover, the methods for switching (or modulation) of the triplet excited state of Bodipy were discussed, such as those based on the photo-induced electron transfer (PET), by controlling the competing Förster-resonance-energy-transfer (FRET), or the intermolecular charge transfer (ICT). Controlling the triplet excited state will give functional molecules such as activatable PDT reagents or molecular devices. It is worth noting that switching of the singlet excited state and the triplet state of Bodipy may follow different principles. Application of the triplet excited state of Bodipy in PDT, hydrogen (H2) production, photoredox catalytic organic reactions and TTA upconversion were discussed. The challenges and the opportunities in these areas were briefly discussed.