A series of tetrathiafulvalene (TTF)-annulated porphyrins, and their corresponding ZnII complexes, have been synthesized. Detailed electrochemical, photophysical, and theoretical studies reveal the effects of intramolecular charge-transfer transitions that originate from the TTF fragments to the macrocyclic core. The incremental synthetic addition of TTF moieties to the porphyrin core makes the species more susceptible to these charge-transfer (CT) effects as evidenced by spectroscopic studies. On the other hand, regular positive shifts in the reduction signals are seen in the square-wave voltammograms as the number of TTF subunits increases. Structural studies that involve the tetrakis-substituted TTF–porphyrin (both free-base and ZnII complex) reveal only modest deviations from planarity. The effect of TTF substitution is thus ascribed to electronic overlap between annulated TTF subunits rather than steric effects. The directly linked thiafulvalene subunits function as both π acceptors as well as σ donors. Whereas σ donation accounts for the substituent-dependent charge-transfer transitions, it is the π-acceptor nature of the appended tetrathiafulvalene groups that dominates the redox chemistry. Interactions between the subunits are also reflected in the square-wave voltammograms. In the case of the free-base derivatives that bear multiple TTF subunits, the neighboring TTF units, as well as the TTF⋅+ generated through one-electron oxidation, can interact with each other; this gives rise to multiple signals in the square-wave voltammograms. On the other hand, after metalation, the electronic communication between the separate TTF moieties becomes restricted and they act as separate redox centers under conditions of oxidation. Thus only two signals, which correspond to TTF.+ and TTF2+, are observed. The reduction potentials are also seen to shift towards more negative values after metalation, a finding that is considered to reflect an increased HOMO–LUMO gap. To probe the excited-state dynamics and internal CT character, transient absorption spectral studies were performed. These analyses revealed that all the TTF–porphyrins of this study display relatively short excited-state lifetimes, which range from 1 to 20 ps. This reflects a very fast decay to the ground state and is consistent with the proposed intramolecular charge-transfer effects inferred from the ground-state studies. Complementary DFT calculations provide a mechanistic rationale for the electron flow within the TTF–porphyrins and support the proposed intramolecular charge-transfer interactions and π-acceptor effects.
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