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Structural Aspects of Porphyrins for Functional Materials Applications



Lawrence P. Cook, Greg Brewer, Winnie Wong-Ng


Porphyrinic compounds comprise a diverse group of materials which have in common the presence of one or more cyclic tetrapyrrole units known as porphyrins in their molecular structures. The resulting aromaticity gives rise to the semiconducting properties that make these compounds of interest for a broad range of applications, including artificial photosynthesis, catalysis, molecular electronics, sensors, non-linear optics, and solar cells. In this brief review, the crystallographic attributes of porphyrins are emphasized. Examples are given showing how the structural orientations of the porphyrin macrocycle, and the inter-porphyrin covalent bonding present in multiporphyrins influence the semiconducting properties. Beginning with porphine, the simplest porphyrin, we discuss how the more complex structures that have been reported are described by adding peripheral substituents and internal metalation to the macrocycles. We illustrate how the conjugation of the π-bonding, which is the basis for the semiconducting properties, is affected by the crystallographic topology.


porphyrin, metalloporphyrin, crystal structure, crystallography, semiconductor, covalent bonding, π-bonding, conjugation.


Cook, L. , Brewer, G. and Wong-Ng, W. (2017), Structural Aspects of Porphyrins for Functional Materials Applications, Crystals, [online],, (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created November 14, 2017, Updated October 12, 2021