Electronic structure and photophysics of a supermolecular iron complex having a long MLCT-state lifetime and panchromatic absorption.

Published

Journal Article

Exploiting earth-abundant iron-based metal complexes as high-performance photosensitizers demands long-lived electronically excited metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) states, but these species suffer typically from femtosecond timescale charge-transfer (CT)-state quenching by low-lying nonreactive metal-centered (MC) states. Here, we engineer supermolecular Fe(II) chromophores based on the bis(tridentate-ligand)metal(II)-ethyne-(porphinato)zinc(II) conjugated framework, previously shown to give rise to highly delocalized low-lying 3MLCT states for other Group VIII metal (Ru, Os) complexes. Electronic spectral, potentiometric, and ultrafast pump-probe transient dynamical data demonstrate that a combination of a strong σ-donating tridentate ligand and a (porphinato)zinc(II) moiety with low-lying π*-energy levels, sufficiently destabilize MC states and stabilize supermolecular MLCT states to realize Fe(II) complexes that express 3MLCT state photophysics reminiscent of their heavy-metal analogs. The resulting Fe(II) chromophore archetype, FeNHCPZn, features a highly polarized CT state having a profoundly extended 3MLCT lifetime (160 ps), 3MLCT phosphorescence, and ambient environment stability. Density functional and domain-based local pair natural orbital coupled cluster [DLPNO-CCSD(T)] theory reveal triplet-state wavefunction spatial distributions consistent with electronic spectroscopic and excited-state dynamical data, further underscoring the dramatic Fe metal-to-extended ligand CT character of electronically excited FeNHCPZn. This design further prompts intense panchromatic absorptivity via redistributing high-energy absorptive oscillator strength throughout the visible spectral domain, while maintaining a substantial excited-state oxidation potential for wide-ranging photochemistry--highlighted by the ability of FeNHCPZn to photoinject charges into a SnO2/FTO electrode in a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) architecture. Concepts enumerated herein afford opportunities for replacing traditional rare-metal-based emitters for solar-energy conversion and photoluminescence applications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jiang, T; Bai, Y; Zhang, P; Han, Q; Mitzi, DB; Therien, MJ

Published Date

  • August 11, 2020

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 32788361

Pubmed Central ID

  • 32788361

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.2009996117

Language

  • eng