The energetics and photodynamics of carbonaceous molecular bearings with discrete molecular structures were investigated. A series of supramolecular bearings comprising belt-persistent tubular cycloarylene and fullerene molecules accepted photonic stimuli to afford charge-separated species via a photoinduced electron transfer process. The energy conversion processes associated with the photoexcitation, however, differed depending on the molecular structure. A π-lengthened tubular molecule allowed for the emergence of an intermediary triplet excited state at the bearing, which should lead to an energy conversion to thermal energy. On the other hand, low-lying charge-separated species induced by an endohedral lithium ion in fullerene enabled back electron transfer processes to occur without involving triplet excited species. The structure-photodynamics relationship was analyzed in terms of the Marcus theory to reveal a large electronic coupling in this dynamic supramolecular system.
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