Phenylene ethynylene-tethered perylene bisimide folda-dimer and folda-trimer: Investigations on folding features in ground and excited states

Benjamin Fimmel, Minjung Son, Young Mo Sung, Matthias Grüne, Bernd Engels, Dongho Kim, Frank Würthner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we have elucidated in detail the folding properties of two perylene bisimide (PBI) foldamers composed of two and three PBI units, respectively, attached to a phenylene ethynylene backbone. The folding behaviors of these new PBI folda-dimer and trimer have been studied by solvent-dependent UV/Vis absorption and 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, revealing facile folding of both systems in tetrahydrofuran (THF). In CHCl3 the dimer exists in extended (unfolded) conformation, whereas partially folded conformations are observed in the trimer. Temperature-dependent1H NMR spectroscopic studies in [D8 ]THF revealed intramolecular dynamic processes for both PBI foldamers due to, on the one hand, hindered rotation around C-N imide bonds, on the other hand, backbone flapping; the latter process being energetically more demanding as it was observed only at elevated temperature. The structural features of folded conformations of the dimer and trimer have been elucidated by different 2D-NMR spectroscopy (e.g., ROESY and DOSY) in [D8]THF. The energetics of folding processes for the PBI dimer and trimer have been assessed by calculations applying various methods, particularly the semiempirical PM6-DH2 and the more sophisticated B97D approach, in which relevant dispersion corrections are included. These calculations corroborate the results of NMR spectroscopic studies. Folding features in the excited states of these PBI foldamers have been characterized by using time-resolved fluorescence and transient absorption spectroscopy in THF and CHCl3, exhibiting similar solvent-dependent behavior as observed for the ground state. Interestingly, photoinduced electron transfer (PET) process from electron-donating backbone to electron-deficient PBI core for extended, but not for folded, conformations was observed, which can be explained by a fast relaxation of excited PBI stacks in the folded conformation into fluorescent excimer states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-630
Number of pages16
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 7

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA,Weinheim.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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