Marin, D. (2017). THE SYNTHESIS AND PHOTOPHYSICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF PORPHYRIN PHOTOACTIVE MATERIALS FOR USE AS SENSITIZERS IN ORGANIC PHOTOVOLTAICS AND PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Solar energy conversion and photodynamic therapy (PDT) are very different applications. However, both utilize very similar photoactive molecules called porphyrins. Porphyrins are structural analogs of chlorophyll and also function as prosthetic groups in some biological enzymes. Understanding the structure/function relationship of these molecules is crucial for enhancing the energy generation efficiency of molecular solar cells and improving chemotherapeutic activity in PDT. In this dissertation, two approaches were applied with the goal of increasing the efficiency of molecular semiconductors for these applications: the heavy atom effect and donor-acceptor molecules. We enhanced the efficiency of triplet excited state formation and singlet oxygen generation for porphyrin sensitizers using the heavy atom effect. The heavy atom effect induces spin-orbit coupling to promote intersystem crossing into the triplet state. In this study, a carbomethoxyphenyl substituent was replaced with either a bromophenyl or an iodophenyl substituent on 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-carbomethoxyphenyl)porphyrin. The longer lifetimes obtained from the increase in the triplet excited state allow for longer exciton diffusion lengths and lower recombination rates in photovoltaics. Also, the enhanced intersystem crossing is beneficial for photodynamic therapy because it increases singlet oxygen generation, which destroys tumor cells. Optimizing photovoltaic performance and PDT efficacy can also be accomplished with donor-acceptor molecules because they have extended electronic pi bond delocalization across the molecule, which causes the molecule to absorb longer wavelengths of light. Donor-acceptor molecules should produce photovoltaic devices that absorb more of the solar spectrum and produce sensitizers that absorb wavelengths of light that can penetrate through tissues. Donor-acceptor molecules were synthesized using 5,15-bis(4-carbomethoxyphenyl)porphyrin as the acceptor and thiazolo[5,4-d]thiazole derivatives as the donor. The excited state dynamics of the heavy atom derivatives and donor-acceptor molecules were studied using UV-vis spectroscopy, steady-state emission, time-resolved and delayed photoluminescence.