On the photophysics of nanographenes – investigation of functionalized hexa-peri-hexabenzocoronenes as model systems†
In this study, we report on hexa-peri-hexabenzocoronenes (HBCs) as representative models for nanographenes. To this end, we synthesized a family of functionalized HBCs and investigated the impact of the substituents on the π-extended systems of the HBCs. DFT and TD-DFT calculations suggested a charge transfer character, which intensified as the electron density withdrawing effects of the substituents (–M-effect) increased. Unambiguous corroboration of the charge transfer character in the case of NO2-substituents was realized via steady-state absorption and fluorescence experiments, which focused on the dependencies on the solvent polarity and temperature featuring. Going beyond HBCs with NO2-substituents, time-correlated single photon counting, and femtosecond and nanosecond transient absorption spectroscopy unveiled long-lived singlet and triplet excited states. As a complement, we performed electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical measurements. These measurements were carried out to shed light onto the nature of the functionalized HBCs as electron acceptors and/or donors, on the one hand, and their corresponding spectroscopic signatures, on the other hand. All of the aforementioned information enabled intermolecular charge separation assays with, for example, suitable electron acceptors by steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopy.