We investigated the impact of the molecular structure of cationic porphyrins on the degree of electrostatic interactions with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) using steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence and transient absorption spectroscopy. Our results demonstrate that the number of cationic pyridinium units has a crucial impact on the photophysics of the porphyrin macrocycle. Fluorescence enhancement, relative to initial free porphyrin fluorescence, was found to be tuned from 3.4 to 1.3 times higher by reducing the number of cationic substituents on the porphyrin from 4 to 2. The resulting enhancement of the intensity of the fluorescence is attributed to the decrease in the intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) character between the porphyrin cavity and its meso substituent. The novel findings reported in this work provide an understanding of the key variables involved in nanoassembly, paving the way toward optimizing the interfacial chemistry of porphyrin-ZnO NP assembly for photodynamic therapy and energy conversion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials