Accidental degeneracy in the spiropyran radical cation: charge transfer between two orthogonal rings inducing ultra-efficient reactivity

David Mendive-Tapia, Luuk Kortekaas, Jorn D. Steen, Aurelie Perrier, Benjamin Lasorne, Wesley R. Browne, Denis Jacquemin

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review


Photochromism of the spiropyran radical cation to the corresponding merocyanine form is investigated by a combination of electrochemical oxidation, UV/vis absorption spectroscopy, spectroelectrochemistry and first-principles calculations (TD-DFT, CAS-SCF and CAS-PT2). First, we demonstrate that the ring-opening of mono-spiropyrans occurs upon one-electron oxidation and that it can be driven photochemically as well as thermally, with trapping of the merocyanine by protonation. Second, in order to explain this experimentally observed spectroelectrochemical behaviour we suggest a theoretical mechanism based on the reactivity of the two lowest electronic excited-states, which promotes effective electron transfer from the indoline (nitrogen-ring) to the pyran (oxygen-ring) moieties (and vice versa) through a conical intersection seam of degeneracy. Characterisation of the minimum energy conical intersection on this crossing revealed that it presents a rare diabatic trapping topology. The excited state molecule cannot escape from crossing the intersection seam due to the presence of only one degeneracy-lifting coordinate that efficiently channels into the formation of the merocyanine photoproduct, so giving rise to a "kitchen sink'' funnel-like effect. Therefore, assuming rapid relaxation after vertical excitation to a higher electronic state, photoconversion cannot be avoided in the D-1 electronic state, which rationalises the remarkably efficient visible light driven excited-state reactivity observed experimentally.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)31244-31253
Aantal pagina's10
TijdschriftPPCP : Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Nummer van het tijdschrift45
StatusPublished - 27-okt-2016

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