Photophysics of BODIPY dyes as readily designable photosensitisers in light-driven proton reduction
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A series of boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY) dyes was tested as photosensitisers for light-driven hydrogen evolution in combination with the complex [Pd(PPh3)Cl2]2 as a source for catalytically-active Pd nanoparticles and triethylamine as a sacrificial electron donor. In line with earlier reports, halogenated dyes showed significantly higher hydrogen production activity. All BODIPYs were fully characterised using stationary absorption and emission spectroscopy. Time-resolved spectroscopic investigations on meso-mesityl substituted compounds revealed that reduction of the photo-excited BODIPY by the sacrificial agent occurs from an excited singlet state, while, in halogenated species, long-lived triplet states are present, determining electron transfer processes from the sacrificial agent. Quantum chemical calculations performed at the time-dependent density functional level of theory indicate that the differences in the photocatalytic performance of the present series of dyes can be correlated to the varying efficiency of intersystem crossing in non-halogenated and halogenated species and not to alterations in the energy levels introduced upon substitution.