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Ultrafast Intersystem Crossing in Acetylacetone via Femtosecond X-ray Transient Absorption at the Carbon K-Edge.

  • Author(s): Bhattacherjee, Aditi
  • Pemmaraju, Chaitanya Das
  • Schnorr, Kirsten
  • Attar, Andrew R
  • Leone, Stephen R
  • et al.

Molecular triplet states constitute a crucial gateway in the photochemical reactions of organic molecules by serving as a reservoir for the excess electronic energy. Here, we report the remarkable sensitivity of soft X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy for following the intricate electronic structure changes accompanying the non-adiabatic transition of an excited molecule from the singlet to the triplet manifold. Core-level X-ray spectroscopy at the carbon-1s K-edge (284 eV) is applied to identify the role of the triplet state (T1, 3ππ*) in the ultraviolet-induced photochemistry of pentane-2,4-dione (acetylacetone, AcAc). The excited-state dynamics initiated at 266 nm (1ππ*, S2) is investigated with element- and site-specificity using broadband soft X-ray pulses produced by high harmonic generation, in combination with time-dependent density functional theory calculations of the X-ray spectra for the excited electronic singlet and triplet states. The evolution of the core-to-valence resonances at the carbon K-edge establishes an ultrafast population of the T1 state (3ππ*) in AcAc via intersystem crossing on a 1.5 ± 0.2 ps time scale.

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