We report on the light-switch behaviour of two head-to-tail expanded bipyridinium species as a function of their interaction with calf thymus DNA and polynucleotides. In particular, both DNA and polynucleotides containing exclusively adenine or guanine moieties quench the luminescence of the fused expanded bipyridinium species. This behaviour has been rationalized demonstrating that a reductive photoinduced electron transfer process takes place involving both adenine or guanine moieties. The charge separated state so produced recombines in the tens of picoseconds. These results could help in designing new organic substrates for application in DNA probing technology and lab on chip-based sensing systems.
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