Sequential energy and electron transfer in a three-component system aligned on a clay nanosheet
To achieve the goal of energy transfer and subsequent electron transfer across three molecules, a phenomenon often utilized in artificial light harvesting systems, we have assembled a light absorber (that also serves as an energy donor), an energy acceptor (that also serves as an electron donor) and an electron acceptor on the surface of an anionic clay nanosheet. Since neutral organic molecules have no tendency to adsorb onto the anionic surface of clay, a positively charged water-soluble organic capsule was used to hold neutral light absorbers on the above surface. A three-component assembly was prepared by the co-adsorption of a cationic bipyridinium derivative, cationic zinc porphyrin and cationic octaamine encapsulated 2-acetylanthracene on an exfoliated anionic clay surface in water. Energy and electron transfer phenomena were monitored by steady state fluorescence and picosecond time resolved fluorescence decay. The excitation of 2-acetylanthracene in the three-component system resulted in energy transfer from 2-acetylanthracene to zinc porphyrin with 71% efficiency. Very little loss due to electron transfer from 2-acetylanthracene in the cavitand to the bipyridinium derivative was noticed. Energy transfer was followed by electron transfer from the zinc porphyrin to the cationic bipyridinium derivative with 81% efficiency. Analyses of fluorescence decay profiles confirmed the occurrence of energy transfer and subsequent electron transfer. Merging the concepts of supramolecular chemistry and surface chemistry we realized sequential energy and electron transfer between three hydrophobic molecules in water. Exfoliated transparent saponite clay served as a matrix to align the three photoactive molecules at a close distance in aqueous solutions.