Energy Transfer at the Single-Molecule Level: Synthesis of a Donor–Acceptor Dyad from Perylene and Terrylene Diimides



In 2004, we reported single-pair fluorescence resonance energy transfer (spFRET), based on a perylene diimide (PDI) and terrylene diimide (TDI) dyad (1) that was bridged by a rigid substituted para-terphenyl spacer. Since then, several further single-molecule-level investigations on this specific compound have been performed. Herein, we focus on the synthesis of this dyad and the different approaches that can be employed. An optimized reaction pathway was chosen, considering the solubilities, reactivities, and accessibilities of the building blocks for each individual reaction whilst still using established synthetic techniques, including imidization, Suzuki coupling, and cyclization reactions. The key differentiating consideration in this approach to the synthesis of dyad 1 is the introduction of functional groups in a nonsymmetrical manner onto either the perylene diimide or the terrylene diimide by using imidization reactions. Combined with well-defined purification conditions, this modified approach allows dyad 1 to be obtained in reasonable quantities in good yield.