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Keywords:

  • energy transfer;
  • FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer);
  • molecular devices;
  • photonics;
  • single-molecule studies

Abstract

Molecular photonics is a new emerging field of research around the premise that it is possible to develop optical devices using single molecules as building blocks. Truly technological impact in the field requires focussed efforts on designing functional molecular devices as well as having access to their photonic properties on an individual basis. In this Minireview we discuss our approach towards the design and single-molecule investigation of one-dimensional multimolecular arrays intended to work as molecular photonic wires. Three different schemes have been explored: a) perylene-based dimer and trimer arrays displaying coherent exciton delocalisation at room temperature; b) DNA-based unidirectional molecular wires containing up to five different chromophores and exhibiting weak excitonic interactions between neighbouring dyes; and c) one-dimensional multichromophoric polymers based on perylene polyisocyanides showing excimerlike emission. As a whole, our single-molecule data show the importance of well-defined close packing of chromophores for obtaining optimal excitonic behaviour at room temperature. Further improvement on (bio)chemical synthesis, together with the use of single-molecule techniques, should lead in the near future to efficient and reliable photonic wires with true device functionality.