Photo-catalysts offer a simple catalytic method with widespread applications like degradation of polluting dyes, hydrogen generation from water, etc., in the presence of a photon source like sunlight. The development of a second-generation photo-catalyst in the form of a nanocomposite is an integral part of research to improve the practical usefulness and efficiency of the process. A systematic study using the active material with controlled functional groups is required to understand the process in detail as well as to develop efficient photocatalytic systems. In this paper, we report the design, synthesis, detailed physicochemical studies, and self-assembly of interesting materials where fullerenes have been functionalized with polycyclic, aromatic, conjugated, butterfly-shaped molecules like Tetrabenzofluorene (TBF) using a well-known click chemistry approach. Detailed analyses using spectroscopic, electrochemical, and microscopic or X-ray diffraction (single crystal) techniques were undertaken for a clear understanding of their photophysical or self-assembly behavior. The functionalized fullerene material was mainly used so that comparative results could be presented where two units (mono adduct) or twelve units (hexakis adduct) of TBF molecules were attached separately. These comparative studies were beneficial for unambiguous interpretation of results and drawing definitive conclusions regarding the energy transfer with cascade-type systems. Finally, those results were useful for the logical understanding of photo-catalytic experiments using those designer fullerene materials.
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