From the (1B) Spectroscopic State to the Photochemical Product of the Ultrafast Ring-Opening of 1,3-Cyclohexadiene: A Spectral Observation of the Complete Reaction Path

Christine C. Pemberton, Yao Zhang, Kenichiro Saita, Adam Kirrander, Peter Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

All stages of the electrocyclic ring-opening of 1,3-cyclohexadiene (CHD) were observed by time-resolved photoionization-photoelectron spectroscopy. Spectra of the 1B state, previously unobserved using time-resolved methods, were obtained upon optical excitation using ultrashort laser pulses at 4.60 eV or 4.65 eV, followed by ionization with pulses at 3.81 eV, 3.85 eV and 4.10 eV, revealing a 1B lifetime of 30 fs. In an experiment using 3.07 eV probe photons and a 4.69 eV pump, we observed a time-sequenced progression of Rydberg states that includes s, p and d states of the series n=3 to 6. The sequentiality of the Rydberg signals points to an ionization mechanism that captures the molecule on different points along the reaction path in 2A. A dynamic fit of the Rydberg signals, coupled with MS-CASPT2 calculations, reveals that as the wavepacket moves down the potential energy surface it acquires kinetic energy at a rate of 28 eV/ps before reaching the conical intersection to the 1A ground state. During the reaction, the terminal carbon atoms separate at a speed of 16 Å/ps. A deconvolution of the Rydberg signals from a broad feature assigned to structurally disperse 1,3,5-hexatriene (HT) shows the formation of the open-chain hexatriene structure with an onset 142 fs after the initial absorption of a pump photon. The experimental observations are discussed in the context of recent ultrafast X-ray scattering experiments and theoretical quantum dynamics simulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Early online date31 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jul 2015

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