Excited state structural evolution during charge-transfer reactions in betaine-30

W. Ruchira Silva, Renee R. Frontiera

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25 Scopus citations


Ultrafast photo-induced charge-transfer reactions are fundamental to a number of photovoltaic and photocatalytic devices, yet the multidimensional nature of the reaction coordinate makes these processes difficult to model theoretically. Here we use femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy to probe experimentally the structural changes occurring following photoexcitation in betaine-30, a canonical intramolecular charge-transfer complex. We observe changes in vibrational mode frequencies and amplitudes on the femtosecond timescale, which for some modes results in frequency shifts of over 20 cm-1 during the first 200 fs following photoexcitation. These rapid mode-specific frequency changes track the planarization of the molecule on the 400 ± 100 fs timescale. Oscillatory amplitude modulations of the observed high frequency Raman modes indicate coupling between specific high frequency and low frequency vibrational motions, which we quantify for 6 low frequency modes and 4 high frequency modes. Analysis of the mode-specific kinetics is suggestive of the existence of a newly discovered electronic state involved in a relaxation pathway, which may be a low-lying triplet state. These results directly track the multiple nuclear coordinates involved in betaine-30's reactive pathway, and should be of use in rationally designing molecular systems with rapid electron transfer processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20290-20297
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number30
StatePublished - 2016

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