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Journal Article

Pushing the Limit of Photo-Controlled Polymerization: Hyperchromic and Bathochromic Effects


Wang,  Zikuan
Research Group Manganas, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Wang, Z., Zhang, Z., Wu, C., Wang, Z., & Liu, W. (2024). Pushing the Limit of Photo-Controlled Polymerization: Hyperchromic and Bathochromic Effects. Molecules, 29(10): 2377. doi:10.3390/molecules29102377.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-5BAD-9
The photocatalyst (PC) zinc tetraphenylporphyrin (ZnTPP) is highly efficient for photoinduced electron/energy transfer reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (PET-RAFT) polymerization. However, ZnTPP suffers from poor absorbance of orange light by the so-called Q-band of the absorption spectrum (maximum absorption wavelength λmax = 600 nm, at which molar extinction coefficient εmax = 1.0×104 L/(mol·cm)), hindering photo-curing applications that entail long light penetration paths. Over the past decade, there has not been any competing candidate in terms of efficiency, despite a myriad of efforts in PC design. By theoretical evaluation, here we rationally introduce a peripheral benzo moiety on each of the pyrrole rings of ZnTPP, giving zinc tetraphenyl tetrabenzoporphyrin (ZnTPTBP). This modification not only enlarges the conjugation length of the system, but also alters the α1u occupied π molecular orbital energy level and breaks the accidental degeneracy between the α1u and α2u orbitals, which is responsible for the low absorption intensity of the Q-band. As a consequence, not only is there a pronounced hyperchromic and bathochromic effect (λmax = 655 nm and εmax = 5.2×104 L/(mol·cm)) of the Q-band, but the hyperchromic effect is achieved without increasing the intensity of the less useful, low wavelength absorption peaks of the PC. Remarkably, this strong 655 nm absorption takes advantage of deep-red (650–700 nm) light, a major component of solar light exhibiting good atmosphere penetration, exploited by the natural PC chlorophyll a as well. Compared with ZnTPP, ZnTPTBP displayed a 49% increase in PET-RAFT polymerization rate with good control, marking a significant leap in the area of photo-controlled polymerization.