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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 10, 2023
  2. We demonstrate how two-photon excitation with quantum light can influence elementary photochemical events. The azobenzene trans → cis isomerization following entangled two-photon excitation is simulated using quantum nuclear wave packet dynamics. Photon entanglement modulates the nuclear wave packets by coherently controlling the transition pathways. The photochemical transition state during passage of the reactive conical intersection in azobenzene photoisomerization is strongly affected with a noticeable alteration of the product yield. Quantum entanglement thus provides a novel control knob for photochemical reactions. The distribution of the vibronic coherences during the conical intersection passage strongly depends on the shape of the initial wave packet created upon quantum light excitation. X-ray signals that can experimentally monitor this coherence are simulated.
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 30, 2022
  4. The outcomes and timescales of molecular nonadiabatic dynamics are decisively impacted by the quantum coherences generated at localized molecular regions. In time-resolved X-ray diffraction imaging, these coherences create distinct signatures via inelastic photon scattering, but they are buried under much stronger background elastic features. Here, we exploit the rich dynamical information encoded in the inelastic patterns, which we reveal by frequency-dispersed covariance ultrafast powder X-ray diffraction of stochastic X-ray free-electron laser pulses. This is demonstrated for the photoisomerization of azobenzene involving the passage through a conical intersection, where the nuclear wave packet branches and explores different quantum pathways. Snapshots of the coherence dynamics are obtained at high frequency shifts, not accessible with conventional diffraction measurements. These provide access to the timing and to the confined spatial distribution of the valence electrons directly involved in the conical intersection passage. This study can be extended to full three-dimensional imaging of conical intersections with ultrafast X-ray and electron diffraction.

  5. A computational strategy to simulate two-dimensional electronic spectra (2DES) is introduced, which allows us to analyse ground state dynamics and to sample and measure different conformations attained by flexible molecular systems in solution. An explicit mixed quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) approach is employed for the evaluation of the necessary electronic excited state energies and transition dipole moments. The method is applied towards a study of the highly flexible water-solvated adenine–adenine monophosphate (ApA), a system featuring two interacting adenine moieties that display various intermolecular arrangements, known to deeply affect their photochemical outcome. Molecular dynamics simulations and cluster analysis have been used to select the molecular conformations, reducing the complexity of the flexible ApA conformational space. By using our sum-over-states (SOS) approach to obtain the 2DES spectra for each of these selected conformations, we can discern spectral changes and relate them to specific nuclear arrangements: close lying π-stacked bases exhibit a splitting of their respective 1 L a signal traces; T-stacked bases exhibit the appearance of charge transfer states in the low-energy Vis probing window while displaying no 1 L a splitting, being particularly favoured when promoting amino to 5-ring interactions; unstacked and distant adenine moieties exhibit signals similar to those ofmore »the adenine monomer, as is expected for non-interacting nucleobases. 2DES maps reveal the spectral fingerprints associated with specific molecular conformations, and are thus a promising option to enable their quantitative spectroscopic detection beyond standard 1D pump-probe techniques. This is expected to aid the understanding of how nucleobase aggregation controls and modulates the photostability and photo-damage of extended DNA/RNA systems.« less