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Femtosecond soft x-ray spectroscopy of solvated transition metal complexes: Deciphering the interplay of electronic and structural dynamics

Abstract

We present the first implementation of femtosecond soft X-ray spectroscopy as an ultrafast direct probe of the excited-state valence orbitals in solution-phase molecules. This method is applied to photoinduced spin crossover of [Fe(tren(py)3)]2+, where the ultrafast spinstate conversion of the metal ion, initiated by metal-to-ligand charge-transfer excitation, is directly measured using the intrinsic spin-state selectivity of the soft X-ray L-edge transitions. Our results provide important experimental data concerning the mechanism of ultrafast spin-state conversion and subsequent electronic and structural dynamics, highlighting the potential of this technique to study ultrafast phenomena in the solution phase.

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