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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Shea ; Joan-Emma (Ed.)
    Proton transfer reactions are ubiquitous in chemistry, especially in aqueous solutions. We investigate photo-induced proton transfer between the photoacid 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonate (HPTS) and water using fast fluorescence spectroscopy and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. Photo-excitation causes rapid proton release from the HPTS hydroxyl. Previous experiments on HPTS/water described the progress from photoexcitation to proton diffusion using kinetic equations with two time constants. The shortest time constant has been interpreted as protonated and photoexcited HPTS evolving into an “associated” state, where the proton is “shared” between the HPTS hydroxyl and an originally hydrogen bonded water. The longer time constant has been interpreted as indicating evolution to a “solvent separated” state where the shared proton undergoes long distance diffusion. In this work, we refine the previous experimental results using very pure HPTS. We then use excited state ab initio molecular dynamics to elucidate the detailed molecular mechanism of aqueous excited state proton transfer in HPTS. We find that the initial excitation results in rapid rearrangement of water, forming a strong hydrogen bonded network (a “water wire”) around HPTS. HPTS then deprotonates in ≤3 ps, resulting in a proton that migrates back and forth along the wire before localizing on a single water molecule.more »We find a near linear relationship between emission wavelength and proton-HPTS distance over the simulations’ time scale, suggesting that emission wavelength can be used as a ruler for proton distance. Our simulations reveal that the “associated” state corresponds to a water wire with a mobile proton and that the diffusion of the proton away from this water wire (to a generalized “solvent-separated” state) corresponds to the longest experimental time constant.« less
  3. Dynamic effects are an important determinant of chemical reactivity and selectivity, but the deliberate manipulation of atomic motions during a chemical transformation is not straightforward. Here, we demonstrate that extrinsic force exerted upon cyclobutanes by stretching pendant polymer chains influences product selectivity through force-imparted nonstatistical dynamic effects on the stepwise ring-opening reaction. The high product stereoselectivity is quantified by carbon-13 labeling and shown to depend on external force, reactant stereochemistry, and intermediate stability. Computational modeling and simulations show that, besides altering energy barriers, the mechanical force activates reactive intramolecular motions nonstatistically, setting up “flyby trajectories” that advance directly to product without isomerization excursions. A mechanistic model incorporating nonstatistical dynamic effects accounts for isomer-dependent mechanochemical stereoselectivity.