Homoleptic "star" Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes: Shielded chromophores to study charge-transfer at the sensitizer-TiO2 interface

Patrik G. Johansson, Yongyi Zhang, Gerald J. Meyer, Elena Galoppini

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13 Scopus citations


Three homoleptic star-shaped ruthenium polypyridyl complexes, termed Star YZ1, Star YZ2, and Star YZ3, where the Ru(II) center is coordinated to three bipyridine ligands each carrying two oligo(phenylene ethynylene) (OPE) rigid linker units terminating with isophthalic ester (Ipa) groups for binding to metal-oxide surfaces were synthesized. In Star YZ3, each OPE linker was substituted with two n-butoxy (n-BuO) solubilizing groups. Star complex YZ4, which is homoleptic but lacks the octahedral symmetry, was synthesized as a reference compound. The Star complexes were synthesized using two approaches: in the first, Ru(4,4′-(Br)2-2,2′-bpy)3 was reacted in a Sonogashira cross coupling reaction with the ethynyl-OPE-Ipa linkers; in the second, the 2,2′-bpy-OPE-Ipa ligands were reacted with Ru(DMSO)4(PF6)2. The photophysical behavior of the Star complexes were studied in fluid solution and anchored to the surface of mesoporous nanocrystalline TiO2 thin films (Star/TiO2). To a first approximation the excited state behavior in CH3CN was unchanged when the compounds were anchored to a TiO2 thin film, indicating that the highly symmetrical (octahedral) and rigid molecular structure of the ligands shielded the chromophoric core from the TiO2 semiconductor. Inefficient excited state injection, φinj < 0.05, was observed to occur on a nanosecond time scale with slow recombination. In addition, the presence of n-BuO groups on the linker unit gave a large increase in the extinction coefficient of YZ3, which allows for enhanced harvesting of sunlight. The results indicate that molecular design on the nanometer length scale can be utilized to control excited state relaxation pathways at semiconductor surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7947-7957
Number of pages11
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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