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Keller, Niklas; Calik, Mona; Sharapa, Dmitry; Soni, Himadri R.; Zehetmaier, Peter M.; Rager, Sabrina; Auras, Florian; Jakowetz, Andreas C.; Goerling, Andreas; Clark, Timothy; Bein, Thomas (2018): Enforcing Extended Porphyrin J-Aggregate Stacking in Covalent Organic Frameworks. In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 140, No. 48: pp. 16544-16552
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The potential of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) for realizing porous, crystalline networks with tailored combinations of functional building blocks has attracted considerable scientific interest in the fields of gas storage, photocatalysis, and optoelectronics. Porphyrins are widely studied in biology and chemistry and constitute promising building blocks in the field of electroactive materials, but they reveal challenges regarding crystalline packing when introduced into COF structures due to their nonplanar configuration and strong electrostatic interactions between the heterocyclic porphyrin centers. A series of porphyrin-containing imine-linked COFs with linear bridges derived from terephthalaldehyde, 2,5-dimethoxybenzene-1,4-dicarboxaldehyde, 4,4'-biphenyldicarboxaldehyde and thieno[3,2-b]thiophene-2,5-dicarboxaldehyde, were synthesized, and their structural and optical properties were examined. By combining X-ray diffraction analysis with density-functional theory (DFT) calculations on multiple length scales, we were able to elucidate the crystal structure of the newly synthesized porphyrin-based COF containing thieno[3,2-b]thiophene-2,5-dicarboxaldehyde as linear bridge. Upon COF crystallization, the porphyrin nodes lose their 4-fold rotational symmetry, leading to the formation of extended slipped J-aggregate stacks. Steady-state and time resolved optical spectroscopy techniques confirm the realization of the first porphyrin J-aggregates on a > 50 nm length scale with strongly red-shifted Q-bands and increased absorption strength. Using the COF as a structural template, we were thus able to force the porphyrins into a covalently embedded J-aggregate arrangement. This approach could be transferred to other chromophores;hence, these COFs are promising model systems for applications in photocatalysis and solar light harvesting, as well as for potential applications in medicine and biology.