Exerting control on excited state processes has been a long-held goal in photochemistry. One approach to achieve control has been to mimic biological systems in Nature ( e.g. , photosynthesis) that has perfected it over millions of years by performing the reactions in highly organized assemblies such as membranes and proteins by restricting the freedom of reactants and directing them to pursue a select pathway. The duplication of this concept at a smaller scale in the laboratory involves the use of highly confined and organized assemblies as reaction containers. This article summarizes the studies in the author's laboratory using a synthetic, well-defined reaction container known as octa acid (OA). OA, unlike most commonly known cavitands, forms a capsule in water and remains closed during the lifetime of the excited states of included molecules. Thus, the described excited state chemistry occurs in a small space with hydrophobic characteristics. Examples where the photophysical and photochemical properties are dramatically altered, compared to that in organic solvents wherein the molecules are freely soluble, are presented to illustrate the value of a restricted environment in controlling the dynamics of molecules on an excited state surface. While the ground state complexation of the guest and hostmore »
This content will become publicly available on July 1, 2023
Ultrafast Excited State Dynamics of Spatially Confined Organic Molecules
This article highlights the role of spatial confinement in controlling the fundamental behavior of molecules. Select examples illustrate the value of using space as a tool to control and understand excited state dynamics through a combination of ultrafast spectroscopy and conventional steady state methods. Molecules of interest were confined within a closed molecular capsule, derived from a cavitand known as octa acid (OA), whose internal void space is sufficient to accommodate molecules as long as tetracene and as wide as pyrene. The free space, i.e. the space that is left following the occupation of the guest within the host, is shown to play a significant role in altering the behavior of guest molecules in the excited state. The results reported here suggest that in addition to weak interactions that are commonly emphasized in supramolecular chemistry, the extent of empty space (i.e. the remaining void space within the capsule) is important in controlling the excited state behavior of confined molecules on ultrafast time scales. For example, the role of free space in controlling the excited state dynamics of guest molecules is highlighted by probing the cis-trans isomerization of stilbenes and azobenzenes within the OA capsule. Isomerization of both types of molecule more »
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- The Journal of Physical Chemistry A
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- National Science Foundation
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