Picosecond time-resolved infrared spectroscopy (TRIR) was performed for the first time on a dithiolate bridged binuclear iron(I) hexacarbonyl complex ([Fe2(μ-bdt)(CO)6], bdt = benzene-1,2-dithiolate) which is a structural mimic of the active site of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzyme. As these model active sites are increasingly being studied for their potential in photocatalytic systems for hydrogen production, understanding their excited and ground state dynamics is critical. In n-heptane, absorption of 400 nm light causes carbonyl loss with low quantum yield (<10%), while the majority (ca. 90%) of the parent complex is regenerated with biexponential kinetics (τ1 = 21 ps and τ2 = 134 ps). In order to understand the mechanism of picosecond bleach recovery, a series of UV-pump TRIR experiments were performed in different solvents. The long time decay (τ2) of the transient spectra is seen to change substantially as a function of solvent, from 95 ps in THF to 262 ps in CCl4. Broadband IR-pump TRIR experiments were performed for comparison. The measured vibrational lifetimes ( T1avg) of the carbonyl stretches were found to be in excellent correspondence to the observed τ2 decays in the UV-pump experiments, signifying that vibrationally excited carbonyl stretches are responsible for the observed longtime decays. The fast spectral evolution (τ1) was determined to be due to vibrational cooling of low frequency modes anharmonically coupled to the carbonyl stretches that were excited after electronic internal conversion. The results show that cooling of both low and high frequency vibrational modes on the electronic ground state give rise to the observed picosecond TRIR transient spectra of this compound, without the need to invoke electronically excited states. (Graph Presented).
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© 2014 American Chemical Society.