Computational Studies of the Photophysics of Hydrogen-Bonded Molecular Systems

J. Chem. Phys. A, 2007, 111, 11725–11735 published on 17.10.2007
J. Phys. Chem. A
The role of electron- and proton-transfer processes in the photophysics of hydrogen-bonded molecular systems has been investigated with ab initio electronic-structure calculations. Adopting indole, pyridine, and ammonia as molecular building blocks, we discuss generic mechanisms of the photophysics of isolated aromatic chromophores (indole), complexes of π systems with solvent molecules (indole−ammonia, pyridine−ammonia), hydrogen-bonded aromatic pairs (indole−pyridine), and intramolecularly hydrogen-bonded π systems (7-(2‘-pyridyl)indole). The reaction mechanisms are discussed in terms of excited-state minimum-energy paths, conical intersections, and the properties of frontier orbitals. A common feature of the photochemistry of the various systems is the electron-driven proton-transfer (EDPT) mechanism: highly polar charge-transfer states of 1ππ*, 1nπ*, or 1πσ* character drive the proton transfer, which leads, in most cases, to a conical intersection of the S1 and S0 surfaces and thus ultrafast internal conversion. In intramolecularly hydrogen-bonded aromatic systems, out-of-plane torsion is additionally needed for barrierless access to the S1−S0 conical intersection. The EDPT process plays an essential role in diverse photophysical phenomena, such as fluorescence quenching in protic solvents, the function of organic photostabilizers, and the photostability of biological molecules.
TU München