Substituent effects in molecular electronic relaxation dynamics via time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy: ππ* states in benzenes

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1021/jp021096h
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Journal of Physical Chemistry A
ISSN1089-5639
Volume106
Issue39
Pages89798991; # of pages: 13
AbstractWe study the applicability of femtosecond time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy to the study of substituent effects in molecular electronic relaxation dynamics using a series of monosubstituted benzenes as model compounds. Three basic types of electronic substituents were used: C=C (styrene), C=O (benzaldehyde), and CC (phenylacetylene). In addition, the effects of the rigidity and vibrational density of states of the substituent were investigated via both methyl (-methylstyrene, acetophenone) and alkyl ring (indene) substitution. Femtosecond excitation to the second * state leads, upon time-delayed ionization, to two distinct photoelectron bands having different decay constants. Variation of the ionization laser frequency had no effect on the photoelectron band shapes or lifetimes, indicating that autoionization from super-excited states played no discernible role. From assignment of the energy-resolved photoelectron spectra, a fast decaying component was attributed to electronic relaxation of the second * state, a slower decaying component to the first * state. Very fast electronic relaxation constants (<100 fs) for the second * states were observed for all molecules studied and are explained by relaxation to the first * via a conical intersection near the planar minimum. Although a "floppy" methyl substitution (-methylstyrene, acetophenone) leads as expected to even faster second * decay rates, a rigid ring substitution (indene) has no discernible effect. The much slower electronic relaxation constants of the first * states for styrene and phenylacetylene are very similar to those of benzene in its first * state, at the same amount of vibrational energy. By contrast, the lifetime of the first * state of indene was much longer, attributed to its rigid structure. The second * state of benzaldehyde has a short lifetime, similar to the other derivatives. However, the relaxation of its first * state is orders of magnitude faster than that of the non-carbonyl compounds, due to the well-known presence of a lower lying n* state. Methylation (acetophenone) leads to still faster first * state relaxation rates. These results fit very well with the current understanding of aromatic photophysics, demonstrating that time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy provides for a facile, accurate and direct means of studying electronic relaxation dynamics in a wide range of molecular systems.
Publication date
PublisherACS Publications
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences; Security and Disruptive Technologies
Peer reviewedYes
Identifier16891788
NPARC number12327987
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Record identifier316e48fa-9e40-45c2-af08-952c6eee950f
Record created2009-09-10
Record modified2017-03-23
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