Ultrafast photoinduced electron transfer in conjugated polyelectrolyte–acceptor ion pair complexes†
Conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs) are a promising class of materials for photovoltaic and sensing applications due to their ability to undergo efficient photoinduced electron transfer (ET). Although water-soluble poly(p-phenylene ethynylene) (PPE) polyelectrolytes have been synthesized for various applications, no reports have clearly revealed the dynamics of the photoinduced ET process and charge transfer state of PPE-type CPE/electron acceptor systems. Herein, we investigated photoinduced ET from a water-soluble PPE based CPE functionalized with alkyl sulfonate (R–SO3−) as side groups to three cationic electron acceptors. Steady-state absorption studies showed a bathochromic shift of the absorption band for all CPE/acceptor mixtures compared to CPE as a result of the suppression of the conformational changes in the polymer caused by the ion–pair interaction. Stern–Volmer (SV) fluorescence quenching studies revealed that all of the cationic electron acceptors efficiently quenched the fluorescence of CPE with SV constants (KSV) in excess of 106 M−1. Picosecond transient absorption (TA) studies of a CPE/methyl viologen mixture revealed the absorption feature of the cation radical state (CPE˙+) of the polyelectrolyte. Kinetic measurements established that the forward electron transfer in the polyelectrolyte/acceptor mixtures occurs with rate constant kf > 1 × 1012 s−1 and the return ET occurs with kb = 3 × 1011 s−1. We also demonstrated that the electron transfer between a PPE-type polyelectrolyte and an acceptor in their assemblies could be modulated by a supramolecular approach, which revealed that the nature of the acceptor–supramolecule host–guest complexes dictates the kinetics of the electron transfer process.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating Prof. Fred Wudl’s 80th Birthday