Porphyrin-based photosynthetic reaction centre (PRC) mimics, ZnPQ-Q2HP-C60 and MP2Q-Q2HP-C60 (M = Zn or 2H), designed to have a similar special-pair electron donor and similar charge-separation distances, redox processes and photochemical reaction rates to those in the natural PRC from purple bacteria, have been synthesised and extensive photochemical studies performed. Mechanisms of electron-transfer reactions are fully investigated using femtosecond and nanosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. In benzonitrile, all models show picosecond-timescale charge-separations and the final singlet charge-separations with the microsecond-timescale. The established lifetimes are long compared to other processes in organic solar cells or other organic light harvesting systems. These rigid, synthetically flexible molecules provide the closest mimics to the natural PRC so far synthesised and present a future direction for the design of light harvesters with controllable absorption, redox, and kinetics properties.
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© 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.