Electronic absorption spectra and solvatochromic shifts by the vertical excitation model: Solvated clusters and molecular dynamics sampling

Aleksandr V. Marenich, Chris Cramer, Donald G Truhlar

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65 Scopus citations


A physically realistic treatment of solvatochromic shifts in liquid-phase electronic absorption spectra requires a proper account for various short- and long-range equilibrium and nonequilibrium solute-solvent interactions. The present article demonstrates that such a treatment can be accomplished using a mixed discrete-continuum approach based on the two-time-scale self-consistent state-specific vertical excitation model (called VEM) for electronic excitation in solution. We apply this mixed approach in combination with time-dependent density functional theory to compute UV/vis absorption spectra in solution for the n → π∗ (1A2) transition for acetone in methanol and in water, the π → π∗ (1A1) transition for para-nitroaniline (PNA) in methanol and in water, the n → π∗ (1B1) transition for pyridine in water, and the n → π∗ (1B1) transition for pyrimidine in water. Hydrogen bonding and first-solvation-shell-specific complexation are included by means of explicit solvent molecules, and solute-solvent dispersion is included by using the solvation model with state-specific polarizability (SMSSP). Geometries of microsolvated clusters were treated in two different ways, (i) using single liquid-phase global-minimum solute-solvent clusters containing up to two explicit solvent molecules and (ii) using solute-solvent cluster snapshots derived from molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories. The calculations in water involve using VEM/TDDFT excitation energies and oscillator strengths computed over 200 MD-derived solute-solvent clusters and convoluted with Gaussian functions. We also calculate ground- and excited-state dipole moments for interpretation. We find that inclusion of explicit solvent molecules generally improves the agreement with experiment and can be recommended as a way to include the effect of hydrogen bonding in solvatochromic shifts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)958-967
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 22 2015

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© 2014 American Chemical Society.


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