Variations and temperature dependence of the excited state properties of conformationally and electronically perturbed zinc and free base porphyrins

Document Type


Publication Date



The photophysical properties and their temperature dependence are reported for the sterically encumbered nonplanar zinc and free base 2,3,5,7,8,10,12,13,15,17,18,20-dodecaphenylporphyrins (ZnDPP and H2DPP), and 2,3,7,8,12,13,17,18-octaethyl-5,10,15,20-tetraphenylporphyrins (ZnOETPP and H2OETPP), and the zinc complex of 5,10,15,20-tetra-tert-butylporphyrin (ZnT(t-Bu)P). Compared to planar 5,10,15,20-tetraphenylporphyrins (ZnTPP and H2TPP), the above compounds exhibit reduced lifetimes of the lowest excited singlet state, reduced fluorescence yields, and large shifts between their absorption and emission maxima at room temperature. ZnT(t-Bu)P, which is known to adopt a ruffled conformation, displays dramatically altered photophysical properties including a 7 ps 1(π,π*) lifetime compared to one of ∼2 ns for ZnTPP at 296 K. Equally noteworthy is the return of the ZnT(t-Bu)P singlet lifetime to a "normal" value of 2.5 ns at 78 K. An analogous temperature dependence has been observed previously for the free base analog H2T(t-Bu)P. The other porphyrins investigated, with different modes of nonplanarity, display smaller temperature variations but also tend toward more normal properties at low temperatures. A more extreme case of perturbation to the tetrapyrrole electronic structure is found in zinc 2,3,5,5′,7,8,12,18-octamethyl-13,17-bis(3-methoxy-3-oxopropyl)isoporphyrin perchlorate, a porphyrin tautomer with an interrupted π system. This zinc isoporphyrin also exhibits a short excited state lifetime of 130 ps at 296 K, which again increases to 0.8 ns at 78 K. The results for the various nonplanar porphyrins and for the isoporphyrin in several solvents indicate that the principal cause of the altered excited state lifetimes is the ability of the molecules to traverse multiple conformational surfaces in the excited state. These surfaces appear to be separated by only small energy barriers that vary with the types of conformational distortions and their concomitant perturbations of the electronic structures of the chromophores.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Physical Chemistry B

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.