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Functional Chromophores, Self-assembly, Supramolecular Chemistry

PublicationsNIMS affiliated publications since 2004.

Research papers

Society memberships

American Chemical Society, Electrochemical Society

Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)

Synthesis of functional organic chromophores


Functional Chromophores, Self-assembly, Supramolecular Chemistry


Organic molecular dyes are highly colored materials with a wide variety of applications. In nature, these important materials are used to harvest light energy from sunlight (e.g., chlorophyll) but also achieve other critical functions such as electron transport (cytochromes) and oxygen transport (heme). Organic synthetic pigments are therefore a significant class of materials in a wide variety of applications including solar cells, sensing and molecular electronics.

Novelty and originality

• Organic synthetic techniques allow highly flexible design of molecular species.
• New classes of compounds are prepared in our laboratories, including fuchsonarenes and pyrazinacenes (see below).
• Novel dyes have excellent properties such as excellent sensing properties, strong singlet oxygen generation, and intense wavelength-tunable fluorescence.
• Nanostructure can be controlled for crystalline porous and liquid crystalline materials.



Porphyrins are an important class of materials due to their high chemical stabilities and flexibllity of synthesis. We have used these aspects to prepare persistently porous porphyrin derivatives with strong selective and sensitive responses for acetone (an important analyte in diabetes diagnosis) in conjunction with a nanomechanical sensor. This easy-to-prepare (by simple drop-casting - see left) molecule-based device can be used for field testing with high sensitivity. Similar molecules, such as the fuchsonarenes, can be adapted for efficient singlet oxygen generation for applications in photodynamic therapy of cancers.

The pyrazinacenes are highly nitrogen-containing analogues of pentacene, which is a widely-studied organic semiconductor. In contrast to pentacene, pyrazinacenes are highly stable, and their optical absorption and fluorescence properties can be modulated by varying their molecular structures (see figure at right). In this work, molecules suitable for uses in organic solar cells or as fluorescent dyes have been prepared and are superior to the materials currently in use in those applications.



Novel families of molecular materials can be prepared by using organic synthesis techniques. The in-depth study of these new materials can lead not only to improvements in existing technologies but also to discoveries of new appllications for new classes of exotic molecules.


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