Donor-Acceptor Fluorophores for Energy-Transfer-Mediated Photocatalysis

Jingzhi Lu, Brian Pattengale, Qiuhua Liu, Sizhuo Yang, Shuzhou Li, Jier Huang, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Triplet-triplet energy transfer (EnT) is a fundamental activation pathway in photocatalysis. In this work, we report the mechanistic origins of the triplet excited state of carbazole-cyanobenzene donor-acceptor (D-A) fluorophores in EnT-based photocatalytic reactions and demonstrate the key factors that control the accessibility of the 3LE (locally excited triplet state) and 3CT (charge-transfer triplet state) via a combined photochemical and transient absorption spectroscopic study. We found that the energy order between 1CT (charge transfer singlet state) and 3LE dictates the accessibility of 3LE/3CT for EnT, which can be effectively engineered by varying solvent polarity and D-A character to depopulate 3LE and facilitate EnT from the chemically more tunable 3CT state for photosensitization. Following the above design principle, a new D-A fluorophore with strong D-A character and weak redox potential is identified, which exhibits high efficiency for Ni(II)-catalyzed cross-coupling of carboxylic acids and aryl halides with a wide substrate scope and high selectivity. Our results not only provide key fundamental insight on the EnT mechanism of D-A fluorophores but also establish its wide utility in EnT-mediated photocatalytic reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13719-13725
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 24 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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