Time-resolved velocity map imaging of methyl elimination from photoexcited anisole

Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (Impact Factor: 4.49). 03/2011; 13(10):4494-9. DOI: 10.1039/c0cp02429e
Source: PubMed


To date, H-atom elimination from heteroaromatic molecules following UV excitation has been extensively studied, with the focus on key biological molecules such as chromophores of DNA bases and amino acids. Extending these studies to look at elimination of other non-hydride photoproducts is essential in creating a more complete picture of the photochemistry of these biomolecules in the gas-phase. To this effect, CH(3) elimination in anisole has been studied using time-resolved velocity map imaging (TR-VMI) for the first time, providing both time and energy information on the dynamics following photoexcitation at 200 nm. The extra dimension of energy afforded by these measurements has enabled us to address the role of πσ* states in the excited state dynamics of anisole as compared to the hydride counterpart (phenol), providing strong evidence to suggest that only CH(3) fragments eliminated with high kinetic energy are due to direct dissociation involving a (1)πσ* state. These measurements also suggest that indirect mechanisms such as statistical unimolecular decay could be contributing to the dynamics at much longer times.

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    ABSTRACT: The role of ultraviolet photoresistance in many biomolecules (e.g., DNA bases and amino acids) has been extensively researched in recent years. This behavior has largely been attributed to the participation of dissociative (1)πσ* states localized along X-H (X ═ N, O) bonds, which facilitate an efficient means for rapid nonradiative relaxation back to the electronic ground state via conical intersections or ultrafast H-atom elimination. One such species known to exhibit this characteristic photochemistry is the UV chromophore imidazole, a subunit in the biomolecules adenine and histidine. However, the (1)πσ* driven photochemistry of its structural isomer pyrazole has received much less attention, both experimentally and theoretically. Here, we probe the ultrafast excited state dynamics occurring in pyrazole following photoexcitation at 200 nm (6.2 eV) using two experimental methodologies. The first uses time-resolved velocity map ion imaging to investigate the ultrafast H-atom elimination dynamics following direct excitation to the lowest energy (1)πσ* state (1(1)A" ← X(1)A'). These results yield a bimodal distribution of eliminated H-atoms, situated at low and high kinetic energies, the latter of which we attribute to (1)πσ* mediated N-H fission. The time constants extracted for the low and high energy features are ~120 and <50 fs, respectively. We also investigate the role of ring deformation relaxation pathways from the first optically bright (1)ππ* state (2(1)A' ← X(1)A'), by performing time-resolved ion yield measurements. These results are modeled using a (1)ππ* → ring deformation → photofragmentation mechanism (a model based on comparison with theoretical calculations on the structural isomer imidazole) and all photofragments possess appearance time constants of <160 fs. A comparison between time-resolved velocity map ion imaging and time-resolved ion yield measurements suggest that (1)πσ* driven N-H fission gives rise to the dominant kinetic photoproducts, re-enforcing the important role (1)πσ* states have in the excited state dynamics of biological chromophores and related aromatic heterocycles.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 08/2011; 116(11):2600-9. DOI:10.1021/jp2053212 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deactivation of excited electronic states through coupling to dissociative (1)πσ* states in heteroaromatic systems has received considerable attention in recent years, particularly as a mechanism that contributes to the ultraviolet (UV) photostability of numerous aromatic biomolecules and their chromophores. Recent studies have expanded upon this work to look at more complex species, which involves understanding competing dynamics on two different (1)πσ* potential energy surfaces (PESs) localized on different heteroatom hydride coordinates (O-H and N-H bonds) within the same molecule. In a similar spirit, the work presented here utilizes ultrafast time-resolved velocity map ion imaging to study competing dissociation pathways along (1)πσ* PESs in mequinol (p-methoxyphenol), localized at O-H and O-CH(3) bonds yielding H atoms or CH(3) radicals, respectively, over an excitation wavelength range of 298-238 nm and at 200 nm. H atom elimination is found to be operative via either tunneling under a conical intersection (CI) (298 ≥ λ ≥ 280 nm) or ultrafast internal conversion through appropriate CIs (λ ≤ 245 nm), both of which provide mechanisms for coupling onto the dissociative state associated with the O-H bond. In the intermediate wavelength range of 280 ≥ λ ≥ 245 nm, mediated H atom elimination is not observed. In contrast, we find that state driven CH(3) radical elimination is only observed in the excitation range 264 ≥ λ ≥ 238 nm. Interpretation of these experimental results is guided by: (i) high level complete active space with second order perturbation theory (CASPT2) calculations, which provide 1-D potential energy cuts of the ground and low lying singlet excited electronic states along the O-H and O-CH(3) bond coordinates; and (ii) calculated excitation energies using CASPT2 and the equation-of-motion coupled cluster with singles and doubles excitations (EOM-CCSD) formalism. From these comprehensive studies, we find that the dynamics along the O-H coordinate generally mimic H atom elimination previously observed in phenol, whereas O-CH(3) bond fission in mequinol appears to present notably different behavior to the CH(3) elimination dynamics previously observed in anisole (methoxybenzene).
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 09/2012; 14(38):13415-28. DOI:10.1039/c2cp42289a · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The theoretical prediction and experimental confirmation of the 1πσ∗ repulsive excited state along O-H bond of phenol have large impact on the interpretation of phenol and tyrosine photochemistry. In this work, we investigated the photodissociation dynamics of 2-, 3-, and 4-methoxybenzoic acid (MOBA) in a molecular beam at 193 nm using multimass ion imaging techniques. In addition, the ground state and the excited state potential energy surfaces of MOBA were investigated using ab initio calculations, and branching ratios were predicted by Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus theory. The results show that (1) the excited state potential of 1πσ∗ along O-CH(3) bond remains similar to that of phenol and anisole, (2) CH(3) elimination is the major channel for three MOBA isomers, and (3) photofragment translational energy distributions show bimodal distributions, representing the dissociation on the ground state and repulsive excited state, respectively. Comparison to the study of hydroxbenzoic acid [Y. L. Yang, Y. A. Dyakov, Y. T. Lee, C. K. Ni, Y. L. Sun, and W. P. Hu, J. Chem. Phys. 134, 034314 (2011)] shows that only the intramolecular hydrogen bonding has significant effects on the excited state dynamics of phenol chromophores.
    The Journal of Chemical Physics 11/2012; 137(19):194309. DOI:10.1063/1.4767403 · 2.95 Impact Factor
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