The journal of physical chemistry. A

Primary photochemistry of nitrated aromatic compounds: excited-state dynamics and NO· dissociation from 9-nitroanthracene.

PMID 21214230


We report results of femtosecond-resolved ex-periments which elucidate the time scale for the primary photoinduced events in the model nitroaromatic compound 9-nitroanthracene. Through time-resolved fluorescence measurements, we observed the ultrafast decay of the initially excited singlet state, and through transient absorption experiments, we observed the spectral evolution associated with the formation of the relaxed phosphorescent T(1) state. Additionally, we have detected for the first time the accumulation of the anthryloxy radical which results from the nitro-group rearrangement and NO(•) dissociation from photoexcited 9-nitroanthracene, a photochemical channel which occurs in parallel with the formation of the phosphorescent state. The spectral evolution in this molecule is highly complex since both channels take place in similar time ranges of up to a few picoseconds. Despite this complexity, our experiments provide the general time scales in which the primary products are formed. In addition, we include calculations at the time-dependent density functional level of theory which distinguish the molecular orbitals responsible for the n-π* character of the "receiver" vibronic triplet states that couple with the first singlet state and promote the ultrafast transfer of population between the two manifolds. Comparisons with the isoelectronic compounds anthracene-9-carboxylic acid and its conjugated base, which are highly fluorescent, show that in these two compounds the near-isoenergeticity of the S(1) with an appropriate "receiver" triplet state is disrupted, providing support to the idea that a specific energy coincidence is important for the ultrafast population of the triplet manifold, prevalent in polycyclic nitrated aromatic compounds.

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