The distance dependence of sequential electron transfer has been studied in six, vertical, linear supramolecular triads, (TTF-Phn-py → AlPor-Phm-C60, n = 0, 1 and m = 1, 2, 3), constructed using tetrathiafulvalene (TTF), aluminum(iii) porphyrin (AlPor) and fullerene (C60) entities. The C60 and TTF units are bound to the Al center on opposite faces of the porphyrin; the C60 through a covalent axial bond using a benzoate spacer, and the TTF through a coordination bond via an appended pyridine. Time-resolved optical and EPR spectroscopic methods and computational studies are used to demonstrate that excitation of the porphyrin leads to step-wise, sequential electron transfer (ET) between TTF and C60, and to study the electron transfer rates and exchange coupling between the components of the triads as a function of the bridge lengths. Femtosecond transient absorption studies show that the rates of charge separation, kCS are in the range of 109-1011 s-1, depending on the length of the bridges. The lifetimes of the charge-separated state TTF•+-C•-60 obtained from transient absorbance experiments and the singlet lifetimes of the radical pairs obtained by time-resolved EPR are in good agreement with each other and range from 60-130 ns in the triads. The time-resolved EPR data also show that population of the triplet sublevels of the charge-separated state in the presence of a magnetic field leads to much longer lifetimes of >1 μs. The data show that a modest stabilization of the charge separation lifetime occurs in the triads. The attenuation factor β = 0.36 Å-1 obtained from the exchange coupling values between TTF•+ and C•-60 is consistent with values reported in the literature for oligophenylene bridged TTF-C60 conjugates. The singlet charge recombination lifetime shows a much weaker dependence on the distance between the donor and acceptor, suggesting that a simple superexchange model is not sufficient to describe the back reaction.
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