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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 24, 2024
  2. Dinuclear d 8 Pt( ii ) complexes, where two mononuclear square planar Pt( ii ) units are bridged in an “A-frame” geometry, possess photophysical properties characterised by either metal-to-ligand-(MLCT) or metal–metal–ligand-to-ligand charge transfer (MMLCT) transitions determined by the distance between the two Pt( ii ) centres. When using 8-hydroxyquinoline (8HQH) as the bridging ligand to construct novel dinuclear complexes with general formula [C^NPt(μ-8HQ)] 2 , where C^N is either 2-phenylpyridine (1) or 7,8-benzoquinoline (2), triplet ligand-centered ( 3 LC) photophysics results echoing that in a mononuclear model chromophore, [Pt(8HQ) 2 ] (3). The lengthened Pt–Pt distances of 3.255 Å (1) and 3.243 Å (2) results in a lowest energy absorption centred around 480 nm assigned as having mixed LC/MLCT character by TD-DFT, mirroring the visible absorption spectrum of 3. Additionally, 1 and 2 exhibit 3 LC photoluminescence with limited quantum yields (0.008) from broad transitions centred near 680 nm. Photoexcitation of 1–3 leads to an initially prepared excited state that relaxes within 15 ps to a 3 LC excited state centred on the 8HQ bridge, which then persists for several microseconds. All the experimental results correspond well with DFT electronic structure calculations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 28, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Closed-loop, autonomous experimentation enables accelerated and material-efficient exploration of large reaction spaces without the need for user intervention. However, autonomous exploration of advanced materials with complex, multi-step processes and data sparse environments remains a challenge. In this work, we present AlphaFlow, a self-driven fluidic lab capable of autonomous discovery of complex multi-step chemistries. AlphaFlow uses reinforcement learning integrated with a modular microdroplet reactor capable of performing reaction steps with variable sequence, phase separation, washing, and continuous in-situ spectral monitoring. To demonstrate the power of reinforcement learning toward high dimensionality multi-step chemistries, we use AlphaFlow to discover and optimize synthetic routes for shell-growth of core-shell semiconductor nanoparticles, inspired by colloidal atomic layer deposition (cALD). Without prior knowledge of conventional cALD parameters, AlphaFlow successfully identified and optimized a novel multi-step reaction route, with up to 40 parameters, that outperformed conventional sequences. Through this work, we demonstrate the capabilities of closed-loop, reinforcement learning-guided systems in exploring and solving challenges in multi-step nanoparticle syntheses, while relying solely on in-house generated data from a miniaturized microfluidic platform. Further application of AlphaFlow in multi-step chemistries beyond cALD can lead to accelerated fundamental knowledge generation as well as synthetic route discoveries and optimization.

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  4. 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 the 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. 
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