Symmetric and Asymmetric Push-Pull Conjugates: Significance of Pull Group Strength on Charge Transfer and Separation
The effect of acceptor strength on excited state charge‐transfer (CT) and charge separation (CS) in central phenothiazine (PTZ) derived symmetric 1 (PTZ-(TCBD-TPA)2) and asymmetric, 2 (PTZ-(TCBD/DCNQ-TPA)2) push-pull conjugates, in which triphenylamine (TPA) act as end capping and 1,1,4,4–tetracyanobuta–1,3–diene (TCBD) and cyclohexa–2,5–diene–1,4–ylidene–expanded TCBD (DCNQ) act as electron acceptor units is reported. Due to strong push-pull effects, intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) was observed in the ground state extending the absorption into the near-IR region. Electrochemical, spectroelectrochemical and computational studies coupled with energy level calculations predicted both 1 and 2 to be efficient candidates for ultrafast charge transfer. Subsequent femtosecond transient absorption studies along with global target analysis, performed in both polar and nonpolar solvents, confirmed such processes in which the CS was efficient in asymmetric 2 having both TCBD and DCNQ acceptors in polar benzonitrile while in toluene, only charge transfer was witnessed. This work highlights significance of number and strength of electron acceptor entities and the role of solvent polarity in multi-modular push-push systems to achieve ultrafast CS.