Probing the interplay between factors determining reaction rates on silica gel using termolecular systems

In this study we have compared energy and electron transfer reactions in termolecular systems using a nanosecond diffuse reflectance laser flash photolysis technique. We have previously investigated these processes on silica gel surfaces for bimolecular systems and electron transfer in termolecular systems. The latter systems involved electron transfer between three arene molecules with azulene acting as a molecular shuttle. In this study we present an alternative electron transfer system using trans β-carotene as an electron donor in order to effectively immobilise all species except the shuttle, providing the first unambiguous evidence for radical ion mobility. In the energy transfer system we use naphthalene, a structural isomer of azulene, as the shuttle, facilitating energy transfer from a selectively excited benzophenone sensitiser to 9-cyanoanthracene. Bimolecular rate constants for all of these processes have been measured and new insights into the factors determining the rates of these reactions on silica gel have been obtained.