Reorganization Energies for Interfacial Electron Transfer across Phenylene Ethynylene Rigid-Rod Bridges

Marzieh Heidari, Quentin Loague, Rachel E. Bangle, Elena Galoppini, Gerald J. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A family of three ruthenium bipyridyl rigid-rod compounds of the general form [Ru(bpy)2(LL)](PF6)2 were anchored to mesoporous thin films of tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) nanocrystals. Here, LL is a 4-substituted 2,2-bipyridine (bpy) ligand with varying numbers of conjugated phenylenethynylene bridge units between the bipyridine ring and anchoring group consisting of a bis-carboxylated isophthalic group. The visible absorption spectra and the formal potentials, Eo(RuIII/II), of the surface anchored rigid-rods were insensitive to the presence of the phenylene ethynylene bridge units in 0.1 M tetrabutyl ammonium perchlorate acetonitrile solutions (TBAClO4/CH3CN). The conductive nature of the ITO enabled potentiostatic control of the Fermi level and hence a means to tune the Gibbs free energy change, -ΔG°, for electron transfer from the ITO to the rigid-rods. Pseudo-rate constants for this electron transfer reaction increased as the number of bridge units decreased at a fixed -ΔG°. With the assumption that the reorganization energy, λ, and the electronic coupling matrix element, Hab, were independent of the applied potential, rate constants measured as a function of -ΔG° and analyzed through Marcus-Gerischer theory provided estimates of Hab and λ. In rough accordance with the dielectric continuum theory, λ was found to increase from 0.61 to 0.80 eV as the number of bridge units was increased. In contrast, Hab decreased markedly with distance from 0.54 to 0.11 cm-1, consistent with non-adiabatic electron transfer. Comparative analysis with previously published studies of bridges with an sp3-hybridized carbon indicated that the phenylene ethynylene bridge does not enhance electronic coupling between the oxide and the rigid-rod acceptor. The implications of these findings for practical applications in solar energy conversion are specifically discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35205-35214
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 3 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


  • Marcus-Gerischer
  • dye-sensitization
  • electron transfer
  • reorganization energy
  • solar cells


Dive into the research topics of 'Reorganization Energies for Interfacial Electron Transfer across Phenylene Ethynylene Rigid-Rod Bridges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this