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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Solvent Mediated Excited State Proton Transfer in Indigo Carmine.

  • Author(s): Roy, Partha Pratim;
  • Shee, James;
  • Arsenault, Eric A;
  • Yoneda, Yusuke;
  • Feuling, Katelyn;
  • Head-Gordon, Martin;
  • Fleming, Graham R
  • et al.

Excited state proton transfer (ESPT) is thought to be responsible for the photostability of biological molecules, including DNA and proteins, and natural dyes such as indigo. However, the mechanistic role of the solvent interaction in driving ESPT is not well understood. Here, the electronic excited state deactivation dynamics of indigo carmine (InC) is mapped by visible pump-infrared probe and two-dimensional electronic-vibrational (2DEV) spectroscopy and complemented by electronic structure calculations. The observed dynamics reveal notable differences between InC in a protic solvent, D2O, and an aprotic solvent, deuterated dimethyl sulfoxide (dDMSO). Notably, an acceleration in the excited state decay is observed in D2O (<10 ps) compared to dDMSO (130 ps). Our data reveals clear evidence for ESPT in D2O accompanied by a significant change in dipole moment, which is found not to occur in dDMSO. We conclude that the ability of protic solvents to form intermolecular H-bonds with InC enables ESPT, which facilitates a rapid nonradiative S1 → S0 transition via the monoenol intermediate.

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