The photophysics and excited-state dynamics of nitroperylene (NPe) in solvents of various polarities and viscosities, including a room-temperature ionic liquid, have been investigated by femtosecond-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy. The excited-state absorption spectrum was found to depend substantially on solvent polarity. In the most polar solvents, it is very similar to that of the NPe radical cation generated upon bimolecular quenching by an electron acceptor, denoting a substantial charge-transfer character of the Si state. Contrary to smaller nitroaromatic compounds, NPe in the S1 state does not undergo ultrafast intersystem crossing (ISC) but decays mainly by internal conversion (IC). In nonprotic solvents, IC involves low-frequency modes with large amplitude motion associated with the nitro group and depends on both the solvent viscosity and polarity. It takes place on a 100 ps time scale in acetonitrile, while in cyclohexane, it is slow enough for ISC to become competitive. Moreover, both the fluorescence quantum yield and the excited-state dynamics were found to differ, depending on which side of the S 0-S1 absorption band excitation was performed. This dependence is explained by the inhomogeneous nature of the absorption spectrum arising from a distribution of twist angles of the nitro group relative to the aromatic plane. On the other hand, such excitation wavelength effects were not observed in protic solvents, where the excited-state lifetime was found to be substantially shorter than that in nonprotic solvents. This behavior is rationalized in terms of a H-bonding interaction, which limits the torsional disorder of NPe and favors ultrafast nonradiative deactivation of the excited state. Transient absorption measurements performed for comparative purpose with nitropyrene in acetonitrile confirm the occurrence of ultrafast ISC in smaller nitroaromatic compounds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry