Directing the self-assembly behaviour of porphyrin-based supramolecular systems

R. van der Weegen, A.J.P. Teunissen, E.W. Meijer

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60 Citations (SciVal)


The self-assembly behaviour of a library of tetra-amidated porphyrin molecules decorated with a variety of solubilizing wedges is investigated as dilute solutions in methylcyclohexane. Small changes in the solubilising wedge of the porphyrins resulted in different aggregated states, as evidenced by CD and UV/Vis absorption spectroscopy. The porphyrins form co-facially stacked H-aggregates, slip-stacked J-aggregates or a mixture of both. Detailed thermodynamic and kinetic analysis showed that in all cases the formation of J-aggregates proceeds via an isodesmic mechanism whereas H-aggregates are formed via a cooperative mechanism. It is shown that these aggregates assemble in a parallel pathway, in which both compete for the monomer, compared to a sequential pathway, in which one of the aggregates interconverts into the other. Interestingly, kinetic analysis of porphyrins that only form H-aggregates in thermodynamic equilibrium revealed that the competing pathway towards J-aggregates is operational in these systems as well. Our findings show that the balance between H- and J-aggregates depends on remarkably small changes in the architecture of the solubilising wedges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3773-3783
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry : A European Journal
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • pathway complexity
  • polymerization
  • porphyrins
  • self-assembly
  • supramolecular chemistry


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