SELF ASSEMBLY OF SUPRAMOLECULAR PHOTONICS
Nature has found a remarkable molecular architecture that is essential in a variety of energy transduction processes from the transport of molecular oxygen by hemoglobin, to the oxidation of xenobiotics by cytochromes P450 in the liver, to the production of almost all free energy on earth by photosynthesis: the porphyrins. Using the strategies found in nature and adapting them, large arrays of porphyrins in a variety of geometries may be self-assembled by designing appropriate molecular recognition motifs based on hydrogen bonding, metal ion coordination, and electrostatic interactions. The mechanism of electron and energy transfer in these arrays, which may enhance our knowledge of these processes in the photosynthetic antenna complex and photo-active materials, is currently under investigation. These materials may also be envisioned as components of molecular electronics, photo storage devices, oxidation catalysts, and probes into the kinetics and mechanisms of the process of self- assembly.
This part of our research is directed towards the formation of supramolecular photonic devices. The photoactive materials for these devices are self-assembled by: (i) metal ion coordination, (ii)hydrogen-bond molecular recognition, (iii)electrostatic interactions, (iv)a hybrid of the above. The rich photo- and electro- chemistry of porphyrins and phthalocyanins make these chromophores ideal building blocks. This research has several main objectives, including the understanding of the thermodynamics and kinetics of the self-assembly process, formation of light harvesting systems, formation and study of new photonic materials, and new synthetic methods for aldehydes and porphyrins.