Excited state ultrafast conformational reorganization is recognized as an important phenomenon that facilitates light-induced functions of many molecular systems. This report describes the femtosecond and picosecond conformational relaxation dynamics of middle-ring and terminal ring twisted conformers of the acetylene π-conjugated system bis(phenylethynyl)benzene, a model system for molecular wires. Through excitation wavelength dependent, femtosecond-transient absorption measurements, we found that the middle-ring and terminal ring twisted conformers relax at femtosecond (400–600 fs) and picosecond (20–24 ps) time scales, respectively. Actinic pumping into the red flank of the absorption spectrum leads to excitation of primarily planar conformers, and results in very different excited state dynamics. In addition, ultrafast Raman loss spectroscopic studies revealed the vibrational mode dependent relaxation dynamics for different excitation wavelengths. To corroborate our experimental findings, DFT and time-dependent DFT calculations were carried out. The Franck–Condon simulation indicated that the vibronic structure observed in the electronic absorption and the fluorescence spectra are due to progressions and combinations of several vibrational modes corresponding to the phenyl ring and the acetylenic groups. Furthermore, the middle ring torsional rotation matches the room-temperature electronic absorption, in stark contrast to the terminal ring torsional rotation. Finally, we show that the middle-ring twisted conformer undergoes femtosecond torsional planarization dynamic, whereas the terminal rings relax on a few tens of picosecond time scale.
Roy, K., Kayal, S., Kumar, V. R., Beeby, A., Ariese, F., & Umapathy, S. (2017). Understanding Ultrafast Dynamics of Conformation Specific Photo-Excitation: A Femtosecond Transient Absorption and Ultrafast Raman Loss Study. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 121(35), 6538-6546. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.7b03893