Controlling the directionality of charge transfer in phthalocyaninato zinc sensitizer for a dye-sensitized solar cell: Density functional theory studies

Liang Wan, Dongdong Qi, Yuexing Zhang, Jianzhuang Jiang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Density functional theory (DFT) calculation on the molecular structures, charge distribution, molecular orbitals, electronic absorption spectra of a series of eight unsymmetrical phthalocyaninato zinc complexes with one peripheral (E)-2-cyano-3-(5-vinylthiophen-2-yl) acrylic acid substituent at 2 or 3 position as an electron-withdrawing group and a different number of electron-donating amino groups at the remaining peripheral positions (9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24) of the phthalocyanine ring, namely ZnPc-β-A, ZnPc-β-A-I-NH2, ZnPc-β-A-II-NH2, ZnPc-β-A-III-NH2, ZnPc-β-A-I,II-NH2, ZnPc-β-A-I,III-NH2, ZnPc-β-A-II,III-NH2, and ZnPc-β-A-I,II,III-NH2, reveals the effects of amino groups on the charge transfer properties of these phthalocyanine derivatives with a typical D-π-A electronic structure. The introduction of amino groups was revealed altering of the atomic charge distribution, lifting the frontier molecular orbital level, red-shift of the near-IR bands in the electronic absorption spectra, and finally resulting in enhanced charge transfer directionality for the phthalocyanine compounds. Along with the increase of the peripheral amino groups at the phthalocyanine ring from 0, 2, 4, to 6, the dihedral angle between the phthalocyanine ring and the average plane of the (E)-2-cyano-3-(5-vinylthiophen-2-yl) acrylic acid substituent increases from 0 to 3.3° in an irregular manner. This is in good contrast to the regular and significant change in the charge distribution, destabilization of frontier orbital energies, and red shift of near-IR bands of phthalocyanine compounds along the same order. In addition, comparative studies indicate the smaller effect of incorporating two amino groups onto the 16 and 17 than on 9 and 10 or 23 and 24 peripheral positions of the phthalocyanine ring onto the aforementioned electronic properties, suggesting the least effect on tuning the charge transfer property of the phthalocyanine compound via introducing two electron-donating amino groups onto the 16 and 17 peripheral positions. As expected, compound ZnPc-β-A-I,III-NH2 with four amino groups at 9, 10, 23, and 24 positions of the phthalocyanine ring shows the best charge transfer directionality among the three phthalocyaninato zinc complexes with four peripheral amino groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1639-1648
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 28 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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