Index of content:
Volume 3, Issue 4, July 2016
- SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HAMBURG CONFERENCE ON FEMTOCHEMISTRY (FEMTO12)
- Invited Articles
3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4936127View Description Hide Description
A site specific perturbation of a photo-excited molecular aggregate can lead to a localization of excitonic energy. We investigate this localization dynamics for laser-prepared excited states. Changing the parameters of the electric field significantly influences the exciton localization which offers the possibility for a selective control of this process. This is demonstrated for aggregates possessing a single vibrational degree of freedom per monomer unit. It is shown that the effects identified for the molecular dimer can be generalized to larger aggregates with a high density of vibronic states.
Ultrafast vibrational dynamics of the DNA backbone at different hydration levels mapped by two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4936567View Description Hide Description
DNA oligomers are studied at 0% and 92% relative humidity, corresponding to N < 2 and N > 20 water molecules per base pair. Two-dimensional (2D) infrared spectroscopy of DNA backbone modes between 920 and 1120 cm−1 maps fluctuating interactions at the DNAsurface. At both hydration levels, a frequency fluctuation correlation function with a 300 fs decay and a slow decay beyond 10 ps is derived from the 2D lineshapes. The fast component reflects motions of DNA helix, counterions, and water shell. Its higher amplitude at high hydration level reveals a significant contribution of water to the fluctuating forces. The slow component reflects disorder-induced inhomogeneous broadening.
Correlated proton-electron hole dynamics in protonated water clusters upon extreme ultraviolet photoionization3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4939897View Description Hide Description
The ultrafast nuclear and electronic dynamics of protonated water clusters H+(H2O)n after extreme ultraviolet photoionization is investigated. In particular, we focus on cluster cations with n = 3, 6, and 21. Upon ionization, two positive charges are present in the cluster related to the excess proton and the missing electron, respectively. A correlation is found between the cluster's geometrical conformation and initial electronic energy with the size of the final fragments produced. For situations in which the electron hole and proton are initially spatially close, the two entities become correlated and separate in a time-scale of 20 to 40 fs driven by strong non-adiabatic effects.
Identification of the dominant photochemical pathways and mechanistic insights to the ultrafast ligand exchange of Fe(CO)5 to Fe(CO)4EtOH3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4941602View Description Hide Description
We utilized femtosecond time-resolved resonant inelastic X-ray scattering and ab initio theory to study the transient electronic structure and the photoinduced molecular dynamics of a model metal carbonyl photocatalyst Fe(CO)5 in ethanol solution. We propose mechanistic explanation for the parallel ultrafast intra-molecular spin crossover and ligation of the Fe(CO)4 which are observed following a charge transfer photoexcitation of Fe(CO)5 as reported in our previous study [Wernet et al., Nature 520, 78 (2015)]. We find that branching of the reaction pathway likely happens in the 1A1 state of Fe(CO)4. A sub-picosecond time constant of the spin crossover from 1B2 to 3B2 is rationalized by the proposed 1B2 → 1A1 → 3B2 mechanism. Ultrafast ligation of the 1B2 Fe(CO)4 state is significantly faster than the spin-forbidden and diffusion limited ligation process occurring from the 3B2 Fe(CO)4ground state that has been observed in the previous studies. We propose that the ultrafast ligation occurs via 1B2 → 1A1 → 1A′ Fe(CO)4EtOH pathway and the time scale of the 1A1 Fe(CO)4 state ligation is governed by the solute-solvent collision frequency. Our study emphasizes the importance of understanding the interaction of molecular excited states with the surrounding environment to explain the relaxation pathways of photoexcited metal carbonyls in solution.
Molecular features in complex environment: Cooperative team players during excited state bond cleavage3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4941600View Description Hide Description
Photoinduced bond cleavage is often employed for the generation of highly reactive carbocations in solution and to study their reactivity. Diphenylmethyl derivatives are prominent precursors in polar and moderately polar solvents like acetonitrile or dichloromethane. Depending on the leaving group, the photoinduced bond cleavage occurs on a femtosecond to picosecond time scale and typically leads to two distinguishable products, the desired diphenylmethyl cations (Ph2CH+) and as competing by-product the diphenylmethyl radicals (). Conical intersections are the chief suspects for such ultrafast branching processes. We show for two typical examples, the neutral diphenylmethylchloride (Ph2CH–Cl) and the charged diphenylmethyltriphenylphosphonium ions () that the role of the conical intersections depends not only on the molecular features but also on the interplay with the environment. It turns out to differ significantly for both precursors. Our analysis is based on quantum chemical and quantum dynamical calculations. For comparison, we use ultrafast transient absorption measurements. In case of Ph2CH–Cl, we can directly connect the observed signals to two early three-state and two-state conical intersections, both close to the Franck-Condon region. In case of the , dynamic solvent effects are needed to activate a two-state conical intersection at larger distances along the reaction coordinate.
Carrier-envelope phase dependence of the directional fragmentation and hydrogen migration in toluene in few-cycle laser fields3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4941601View Description Hide Description
The dissociativeionization of toluene initiated by a few-cycle laser pulse as a function of the carrier envelope phase (CEP) is investigated using single-shot velocity map imaging. Several ionic fragments, CH3+, H2+, and H3+, originating from multiply charged toluene ions present a CEP-dependent directional emission. The formation of H2+ and H3+ involves breaking C-H bonds and forming new bonds between the hydrogen atoms within the transient structure of the multiply charged precursor. We observe appreciable intensity-dependent CEP-offsets. The experimental data are interpreted with a mechanism that involves laser-induced coupling of vibrational states, which has been found to play a role in the CEP-control of molecular processes in hydrocarbon molecules, and appears to be of general importance for such complex molecules.
Charge transfer in dissociating iodomethane and fluoromethane molecules ionized by intense femtosecond X-ray pulses3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4944344View Description Hide Description
Ultrafast electron transfer in dissociating iodomethane and fluoromethane molecules was studied at the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron laser using an ultraviolet-pump, X-ray-probe scheme. The results for both molecules are discussed with respect to the nature of their UV excitation and different chemical properties. Signatures of long-distance intramolecular charge transfer are observed for both species, and a quantitative analysis of its distance dependence in iodomethane is carried out for charge states up to I21+. The reconstructed critical distances for electron transfer are in good agreement with a classical over-the-barrier model and with an earlier experiment employing a near-infrared pump pulse.
3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4948338View Description Hide Description
Vibrational dynamics of the retinal all-trans to 13-cis photoisomerization in channelrhodopsin-1 from Chlamydomonas augustae (CaChR1) was investigated by femtosecond visible pump mid-IR probe spectroscopy. After photoexcitation, the transient infrared absorption of C-C stretching modes was detected. The formation of the 13-cis photoproduct marker band at 1193 cm−1 was observed within the time resolution of 0.3 ps. We estimated the photoisomerization yield to (60 ± 6) %. We found additional time constants of (0.55 ± 0.05) ps and (6 ± 1) ps, assigned to cooling, and cooling processes with a back-reaction pathway. An additional bleaching band demonstrates the ground-state heterogeneity of retinal.
Femtosecond X-ray solution scattering reveals that bond formation mechanism of a gold trimer complex is independent of excitation wavelength3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4948516View Description Hide Description
The [Au(CN)2−]3 trimer in water experiences a strong van der Waals interaction between the d10gold atoms due to large relativistic effect and can serve as an excellent model system to study the bond formation process in real time. The trimer in the ground state (S0) exists as a bent structure without the covalent bond between the gold atoms, and upon the laser excitation, one electron in the antibonding orbital goes to the bonding orbital, thereby inducing the formation of a covalent bond between gold atoms. This process has been studied by various time-resolved techniques, and most of the interpretation on the structure and dynamics converge except that the structure of the first intermediate (S1) has been debated due to different interpretations between femtosecond optical spectroscopy and femtosecond X-ray solution scattering. Recently, the excitation wavelength of 267 nm employed in our previous scattering experiment was suggested as the culprit for misinterpretation. Here, we revisited this issue by performing femtosecond X-ray solution scattering with 310 nm excitation and compared the results with our previous study employing 267 nm excitation. The data show that a linear S1 structure is formed within 500 fs regardless of excitation wavelength and the structural dynamics observed at both excitation wavelengths are identical to each other within experimental errors.
Ultrafast electronic and vibrational dynamics in brominated aluminum corroles: Energy relaxation and triplet formation3(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4949363View Description Hide Description
We combined femtosecond (fs) VIS pump–IR probe spectroscopy with fs VIS pump–supercontinuum probe spectroscopy to characterize the photoreaction of the hexacoordinated Al(tpfc-Br8)(py)2 in a comprehensive way. Upon fs excitation at ∼400 nm in the Soret band, the excitation energy relaxes with a time constant of (250 ± 80) fs to the S2 and S1 electronic excited states. This is evident from the rise time of the stimulated emission signal in the visible spectral range. On the same time scale, narrowing of broad infrared signals in the C=C stretching region around 1500 cm−1 is observed. Energy redistribution processes are visible in the vibrational and electronic dynamics with time constants between ∼2 ps and ∼20 ps. Triplet formation is detected with a time constant of (95 ± 3) ps. This is tracked by the complete loss of stimulated emission. Electronic transition of the emerging triplet absorption band overlaps considerably with the singlet excited stateabsorption. In contrast, two well separated vibrational marker bands for triplet formation were identified at 1477 cm−1 and at 1508 cm−1. These marker bands allow a precise identification of triplet dynamics in corrole systems.