Photoinduced electron transfer (PET) is a general nature occurring process which is related with the photosynthetic process. Scientists have always been interested in mimicking this process from artificial molecules in the search for controlling and tuning this process for practical purposes. The appropriate molecules and materials have been an important task in science. The aforementioned mimicking of the photosynthetic process requires the presence of appropriate electron donor molecules interacting (covalently or supramolecularly) with electron acceptor molecules. Light irradiation promotes the electron transfer from the donor to the acceptor units. Fullerenes are amazing ball-shape molecules formed exclusively by carbon atoms which are known to exhibit interesting electron accepting properties. Therefore, they have been extensively used in Donor-Acceptor systems.
A group of chemists from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid lead by Prof. Nazario Martín together with a group of researchers from the Friederich-Alexander Univesität Erlangen-Nürnberg lead by Dirk M. Guldi, and the DiMoCat members Antony J. Stasyuk, Olga A. Stasyuk, Alexander A. Voityuk, and Miquel Solà have shown the first example in which fullerenes, depending on their features, are able to act as acceptor but also as donor components in artificial photosynthetic systems. Furthermore, they have described the first example in which light irradiation promotes de electron transfer from the donor Lu3N@C80 to the acceptor C60 giving rise to a charge separated state involving two fullerene cages!
The paper has been published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. And can be found in the following link Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 58 (2019) 6932-6937. The inside cover of the issue has been dedicated to this work: