Proton-coupled energy transfer in molecular triads

Belinda Pettersson Rimgard, Zhen Tao, Giovanny A. Parada, Laura F. Cotter, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, James M. Mayer, Leif Hammarström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We experimentally discovered and theoretically analyzed a photochemical mechanism, which we term proton-coupled energy transfer (PCEnT). A series of anthracene-phenol-pyridine triads formed a local excited anthracene state after light excitation at a wavelength of ~400 nanometers (nm), which led to fluorescence around 550 nm from the phenol-pyridine unit. Direct excitation of phenol-pyridine would have required ~330-nm light, but the coupled proton transfer within the phenol-pyridine unit lowered its excited-state energy so that it could accept excitation energy from anthracene. Singlet-singlet energy transfer thus occurred despite the lack of spectral overlap between the anthracene fluorescence and the phenol-pyridine absorption. Moreover, theoretical calculations indicated negligible charge transfer between the anthracene and phenol-pyridine units. We construe PCEnT as an elementary reaction of possible relevance to biological systems and future photonic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-747
Number of pages6
Issue number6607
StatePublished - Aug 12 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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