skip to main content

Title: Energy- and conformer-dependent excited-state relaxation of an E / Z photoswitchable thienyl-ethene
Bis(bithienyl)-1,2-dicyanoethene (4TCE) is a photoswitch that operates via reversible E / Z photoisomerization following absorption of visible light. cis -to- trans photoisomerization of 4TCE requires excitation below 470 nm, is relatively inefficient (quantum yield < 5%) and occurs via the lowest-lying triplet. We present excitation-wavelength dependent (565–420 nm) transient absorption (TA) studies to probe the photophysics of cis -to- trans isomerization to identify sources of switching inefficiency. TA data reveals contributions from more than one switch conformer and relaxation cascades between multiple states. Fast (∼4 ps) and slow (∼40 ps) components of spectral dynamics observed at low excitation energies (>470 nm) are readily attributed to deactivation of two conformers; this assignment is supported by computed thermal populations and absorption strengths of two molecular geometries (P A and P B ) characterized by roughly parallel dipoles for the thiophenes on opposite sides of the ethene bond. Only the P B conformer is found to contribute to triplet population and the switching of cis -4TCE: high-energy excitation (<470 nm) of P B involves direct excitation to S 2 , relaxation from which prepares an ISC-active S 1 geometry (ISC QY 0.4–0.67, k ISC ∼ 1.6–2.6 × 10 −9 s −1 ) that more » is the gateway to triplet population and isomerization. We ascribe low cis -to- trans isomerization yield to excitation of the nonreactive P A conformer (75–85% loss) as well as loses along the P B S 2 → S 1 → T 1 cascade (10–20% loss). In contrast, electrocyclization is inhibited by the electronic character of the excited states, as well as a non-existent thermal population of a reactive “antiparallel” ring conformation. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1800510
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10108678
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume:
21
Issue:
26
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
14440 to 14452
ISSN:
1463-9076
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We report the excited-state behavior of a structurally simple bis -sulfoxide complex, cis -S,S-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ , as investigated by femtosecond pump–probe spectroscopy. The results reveal that a single photon prompts phototriggered isomerization of one or both dmso ligands to yield a mixture of cis -S,O-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ and cis -O,O-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ . The quantum yields of isomerization of each product and relative product distribution are dependent upon the excitation wavelength, with longer wavelengths favoring the double isomerization product, cis -O,O-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ . Transient absorption measurements on cis -O,O-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ do not reveal an excited-state isomerization pathway to produce either the S,O or S,S isomers. Femtosecond pulse shaping experiments reveal no change in the product distribution. Pump–repump–probe transient absorption spectroscopy of cis -S,S-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ shows that a pump–repump time delay of 3 ps dramatically alters the S,O : O,O product ratio; pump–repump–probe transient absorption spectroscopy of cis -O,O-[Ru(bpy) 2 (dmso) 2 ] 2+ with a time delay of 3 ps uncovers an excited-state isomerization pathway to produce the S,O isomer. In conjunction with low-temperature steady-state emission spectroscopy, these results aremore »interpreted in the context of an excited-state bifurcating pathway, in which the isomerization product distribution is determined not by thermodynamics, but rather as a dynamics driven reaction.« less
  2. Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy reveals new excited-state dynamics following excitation of trans -azobenzene ( t -Az) and several alkyl-substituted t -Az derivatives encapsulated in a water-soluble supramolecular host–guest complex. Encapsulation increases the excited-state lifetimes and alters the yields of the trans → cis photoisomerization reaction compared with solution. Kinetic modeling of the transient spectra for unsubstituted t -Az following nπ* and ππ* excitation reveals steric trapping of excited-state species, as well as an adiabatic excited-state trans → cis isomerization pathway for confined molecules that is not observed in solution. Analysis of the transient spectra following ππ* excitation for a series of 4-alkyl and 4,4′-dialkyl substituted t -Az molecules suggests that additional crowding due to lengthening of the alkyl tails results in deeper trapping of the excited-state species, including distorted trans and cis structures. The variation of the dynamics due to crowding in the confined environment provides new evidence to explain the violation of Kasha's rule for nπ* and ππ* excitation of azobenzenes based on competition between in-plane inversion and out-of-plane rotation channels.
  3. Ultrafast excited state processes of transition metal complexes (TMCs) are governed by complicated interplays between electronic and nuclear dynamics, which demand a detailed understanding to achieve optimal functionalities of photoactive TMC-based materials for many applications. In this work, we investigated a cyclometalated platinum( ii ) dimer known to undergo a Pt–Pt bond contraction in the metal–metal-to-ligand-charge-transfer (MMLCT) excited state using femtosecond broadband transient absorption (fs-BBTA) spectroscopy in combination with geometry optimization and normal mode calculations. Using a sub-20 fs pump and broadband probe pulses in fs-BBTA spectroscopy, we were able to correlate the coherent vibrational wavepacket (CVWP) evolution with the stimulated emission (SE) dynamics of the 1 MMLCT state. The results demonstrated that the 145 cm −1 CVWP motions with the damping times of ∼0.9 ps and ∼2 ps originate from coherent Pt–Pt stretching vibrations in the singlet and triplet MMLCT states, respectively. On the basis of excited state potential energy surface calculations in our previous work, we rationalized that the CVWP transfer from the Franck–Condon (FC) state to the 3 MMLCT state was mediated by a triplet ligand-centered ( 3 LC) intermediate state through two step intersystem crossing (ISC) on a time scale shorter than a period of themore »Pt–Pt stretching wavepacket motions. Moreover, it was found that the CVWP motion had 110 cm −1 frequency decays with the damping time of ∼0.2 ps, matching the time constant of 0.253 ps, corresponding to a redshift in the SE feature at early times. This observation indicates that the Pt–Pt bond contraction changes the stretching frequency from 110 to 145 cm −1 and stabilizes the 1 MMLCT state relative to the 3 LC state with a ∼0.2 ps time scale. Thus, the ultrafast ISC from the 1 MMLCT to the 3 LC states occurs before the Pt–Pt bond shortening. The findings herein provide insight into understanding the impact of Pt–Pt bond contraction on the ultrafast branching of the 1 MMLCT population into the direct ( 1 MMLCT → 3 MMLCT) and indirect ISC pathways ( 1 MMLCT → 3 LC → 3 MMLCT) in the Pt( ii ) dimer. These results revealed intricate excited state electronic and nuclear motions that could steer the reaction pathways with a level of detail that has not been achieved before.« less
  4. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun is essential for the prebiotic syntheses of nucleotides, but it can also induce photolesions such as the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) to RNA or DNA oligonucleotide in prebiotic Earth. 2,6-Diaminopurine (26DAP) has been proposed to repair CPDs in high yield under prebiotic conditions and be a key component in enhancing the photostability of higher-order prebiotic DNA structures. However, its electronic relaxation pathways have not been studied, which is necessary to know whether 26DAP could have survived the intense UV fluxes of the prebiotic Earth. We investigate the electronic relaxation mechanism of both 26DAP and its 2′-deoxyribonucleoside (26DAP-d) in aqueous solution using steady-state and femtosecond transient absorption measurements that are complemented with electronic-structure calculations. The results demonstrate that both purine derivatives are significantly photostable to UVR. It is shown that upon excitation at 287 nm, the lowest energy 1 ππ* state is initially populated. The population then branches following two relaxation coordinates in the 1 ππ* potential energy surface, which are identified as the C2- and C6-relaxation coordinates. The population following the C6-coordinate internally converts to the ground state nonradiatively through a nearly barrierless conical intersection within 0.7 ps in 26DAP or within 1.1 psmore »in 26DAP-d. The population that follows the C2-relaxation coordinate decays back to the ground state by a combination of nonradiative internal conversion via a conical intersection and fluorescence emission from the 1 ππ* minimum in 43 ps and 1.8 ns for the N9 and N7 tautomers of 26DAP, respectively, or in 70 ps for 26DAP-d. Fluorescence quantum yields of 0.037 and 0.008 are determined for 26DAP and 26DAP-d, respectively. Collectively, it is demonstrated that most of the excited state population in 26DAP and 26DAP-d decays back to the ground state via both nonradiative and radiative relaxation pathways. This result lends support to the idea that 26DAP could have accumulated in large enough quantities during the prebiotic era to participate in the formation of prebiotic RNA or DNA oligomers and act as a key component in the protection of the prebiotic genetic alphabet.« less
  5. Cyanuric acid is a triazine derivative that has been identified from reactions performed under prebiotic conditions and has been proposed as a prospective precursor of ancestral RNA. For cyanuric acid to have played a key role during the prebiotic era, it would have needed to survive the harsh electromagnetic radiation conditions reaching the Earth’s surface during prebiotic times (≥200 nm). Therefore, the photostability of cyanuric acid would have been crucial for its accumulation during the prebiotic era. To evaluate the putative photostability of cyanuric acid in water, in this contribution, we employed density functional theory (DFT) and its time-dependent variant (TD-DFT) including implicit and explicit solvent effects. The calculations predict that cyanuric acid has an absorption maximum at ca. 160 nm (7.73 eV), with the lowest-energy absorption band extending to ca. 200 nm in an aqueous solution and exhibiting negligible absorption at longer wavelengths. Excitation of cyanuric acid at 160 nm or longer wavelengths leads to the population of S5,6 singlet states, which have ππ* character and large oscillator strengths (0.8). The population reaching the S5,6 states is expected to internally convert to the S1,2 states in an ultrafast time scale. The S1,2 states, which have nπ* character, are predictedmore »to access a conical intersection with the ground state in a nearly barrierless fashion (ca. ≤ 0.13 eV), thus efficiently returning the population to the ground state. Furthermore, based on calculated spin–orbit coupling elements of ca. 6 to 8 cm−1, the calculations predict that intersystem crossing to the triplet manifold should play a minor role in the electronic relaxation of cyanuric acid. We have also calculated the vertical ionization energy of cyanuric acid at 8.2 eV, which predicts that direct one-photon ionization of cyanuric acid should occur at ca. 150 nm. Collectively, the quantum-chemical calculations predict that cyanuric acid would have been highly photostable under the solar radiation conditions reaching the Earth’s surface during the prebiotic era in an aqueous solution. Of relevance to the chemical origin of life and RNA-first theories, these observations lend support to the idea that cyanuric acid could have accumulated in large quantities during the prebiotic era and thus strengthens its candidature as a relevant prebiotic nucleobase.« less