2-Ureido-4(1H)-pyrimidinone-bridged ferrocene–fullerene assembly I is designed and synthesized for elaborating the photoinduced electron-transfer processes in self-complementary quadruply hydrogen-bonded modules. Unexpectedly, steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopy reveal an inefficient electron-transfer process from the ferrocene to the singlet or triplet excited state of the fullerene, although the electron-transfer reactions are thermodynamically feasible. Instead, an effective intra-assembly triplet–triplet energy-transfer process is found to be operative in assembly I with a rate constant of 9.2×105 s−1 and an efficiency of 73 % in CH2Cl2 at room temperature.
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