Journal of the American Chemical Society vol:127 issue:27 pages:9760-9768
We report on the ensemble and single-molecule (SM) dynamics of Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) in a multichromophoric rigid polyphenylenic dendrimer (triad) with spectrally different rylene chromophores featuring distinct absorption and emission spectra which cover the whole visible spectral range: a terrylenediimide (TDI) core, four perylenemonoimides (PMIs) attached at the scaffold, and eight naphthalenemonoimides (NMIs) at the rim. For FRET from PMI to TDI taking place with an efficiency of 99.5%, single triad molecules optically excited at 490 nm show fluorescence exclusively from the TDI side in the beginning of their emission. On 360-nm excitation, NMI chromophores transfer their excitation energy either directly or in a stepwise fashion to the core TDI, the latter case involving scaffold-substituted PMIs as intermediate acceptors. Indeed, SM experiments on 360-nm excitation evidence highly efficient FRET from NMI chromophores to the TDI core since individual triad molecules show fluorescence exclusively either from TDI or from an intermediate (oxidized) species but never from PMI. Because PMI and TDI are chromophores with high fluorescence quantum yields and high resistance to photobleaching compared to NMI, 360-nm excitation of a single triad molecule leads to bleaching of NMI chromophores with no chance for PMI to be observed. The spatial positioning and the spectral properties of the chosen rylene chromophores make this multichromophoric system an efficient light collector, able to capture light over the whole visible spectral range and to transfer it finally to the core TDI, the latter releasing it as red fluorescence.