A series of acetylene-linked perylene bisimide (PBI) macrocycles 3a-d with various ring sizes from trimer to hexamer have been synthesised by a palladium-catalysed homocoupling reaction of perylene bisimide 1. Photophysical properties of these PBI macrocycles have been examined by steady-state absorption, fluorescence, fluorescence lifetime, fluorescence anisotropy decay, and transient absorption measurements. Both pump-power dependence on the femtosecond transient absorption and the transient absorption anisotropy decay profiles are directly related with the excitation energy migration processes within PBI macrocycles where the exciton-exciton annihilation time and the polarization anisotropy decay time are well described in terms of the Förster-type incoherent energy hopping model. Consequently, the excitation energy hopping times of macrocycles become slower and then saturated as the ring size increases. Nevertheless, the intrinsically large transition dipole moment of PBI leads to fast energy transfer processes as compared to other artificial light-harvesting complexes such as those constructed from porphyrin building blocks.
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