Precisely tuneable energy transfer system using peptoid helix-based molecular scaffold

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 6;7(1):4786. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04727-0.


The energy flow during natural photosynthesis is controlled by maintaining the spatial arrangement of pigments, employing helices as scaffolds. In this study, we have developed porphyrin-peptoid (pigment-helix) conjugates (PPCs) that can modulate the donor-acceptor energy transfer efficiency with exceptional precision by controlling the relative distance and orientation of the two pigments. Five donor-acceptor molecular dyads were constructed using zinc porphyrin and free base porphyrin (Zn(i + 2)-Zn(i + 6)), and highly efficient energy transfer was demonstrated with estimated efficiencies ranging from 92% to 96% measured by static fluorescence emission in CH2Cl2 and from 96.3% to 97.6% using femtosecond transient absorption measurements in toluene, depending on the relative spatial arrangement of the donor-acceptor pairs. Our results suggest that the remarkable precision and tunability exhibited by nature can be achieved by mimicking the design principles of natural photosynthetic proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics
  • Energy Transfer*
  • Metalloporphyrins / chemistry
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Molecular Structure
  • Peptoids / chemistry*
  • Photosynthesis
  • Porphyrins / chemistry
  • Toluene
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Metalloporphyrins
  • Peptoids
  • Porphyrins
  • zinc hematoporphyrin
  • Toluene
  • Methylene Chloride