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Concept: Excited state


The fundamental properties of light derive from its constituent particles-massless quanta (photons) that do not interact with one another. However, it has long been known that the realization of coherent interactions between individual photons, akin to those associated with conventional massive particles, could enable a wide variety of novel scientific and engineering applications. Here we demonstrate a quantum nonlinear medium inside which individual photons travel as massive particles with strong mutual attraction, such that the propagation of photon pairs is dominated by a two-photon bound state. We achieve this through dispersive coupling of light to strongly interacting atoms in highly excited Rydberg states. We measure the dynamical evolution of the two-photon wavefunction using time-resolved quantum state tomography, and demonstrate a conditional phase shift exceeding one radian, resulting in polarization-entangled photon pairs. Particular applications of this technique include all-optical switching, deterministic photonic quantum logic and the generation of strongly correlated states of light.

Concepts: Photon, Quantum mechanics, Physics, Light, Quantum field theory, Atom, Excited state, Elementary particle


The electron-hole pair created via photon absorption in organic photoconversion systems must overcome the Coulomb attraction to achieve long-range charge separation. We show that this process is facilitated through the formation of excited, delocalized band states. In our experiments on organic photovoltaic cells, these states were accessed for a short time (<1 picosecond) via infrared (IR) optical excitation of electron-hole pairs bound at the heterojunction. Atomistic modeling showed that the IR photons promote bound charge pairs to delocalized band states, similar to those formed just after singlet exciton dissociation, which indicates that such states act as the gateway for charge separation. Our results suggest that charge separation in efficient organic photoconversion systems occurs through hot-state charge delocalization rather than energy-gradient-driven intermolecular hopping.

Concepts: Electron, Photon, Quantum mechanics, Electromagnetic radiation, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Excited state, Electron hole


Much consideration has been given to the role of spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in 5d oxides, particularly on the formation of novel electronic states and manifested metal-insulator transitions (MITs). SOC plays a dominant role in 5d(5) iridates (Ir(4+)), undergoing MITs both concurrent (pyrochlores) and separated (perovskites) from the onset of magnetic order. However, the role of SOC for other 5d configurations is less clear. For example, 5d(3) (Os(5+)) systems are expected to have an orbital singlet with reduced effective SOC. The pyrochlore Cd2Os2O7 nonetheless exhibits a MIT entwined with magnetic order phenomenologically similar to pyrochlore iridates. Here, we resolve the magnetic structure in Cd2Os2O7 with neutron diffraction and then via resonant inelastic X-ray scattering determine the salient electronic and magnetic energy scales controlling the MIT. In particular, SOC plays a subtle role in creating the electronic ground state but drives the magnetic order and emergence of a multiple spin-flip magnetic excitation.

Concepts: Diffraction, X-ray, X-ray crystallography, Powder diffraction, Neutron diffraction, Excited state, Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering, Magnetic structure


Vertical excitation energies obtained with state-specific multi-reference coupled cluster (MRCC) methods are reported for the low-lying singlet and triplet excited of the ozone molecule. The MRCC results are also compared with those obtained with high-order equation-of-motion coupled cluster methods.

Concepts: Oxygen, Quantum mechanics, Atom, Excited state, Singlet oxygen, Singlet state, Coupled cluster, Ozone


Fluorescence imaging is one of the most versatile and widely used visualization methods in biomedical research. However, tissue autofluorescence is a major obstacle confounding interpretation of in vivo fluorescence images. The unusually long emission lifetime (5-13 μs) of photoluminescent porous silicon nanoparticles can allow the time-gated imaging of tissues in vivo, completely eliminating shorter-lived (<10 ns) emission signals from organic chromophores or tissue autofluorescence. Here using a conventional animal imaging system not optimized for such long-lived excited states, we demonstrate improvement of signal to background contrast ratio by >50-fold in vitro and by >20-fold in vivo when imaging porous silicon nanoparticles. Time-gated imaging of porous silicon nanoparticles accumulated in a human ovarian cancer xenograft following intravenous injection is demonstrated in a live mouse. The potential for multiplexing of images in the time domain by using separate porous silicon nanoparticles engineered with different excited state lifetimes is discussed.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Animal testing, In vivo, Silicon, In vitro, Luminescence, Excited state, Imaging


Thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) is fluorescence arising from a reverse intersystem crossing (RISC) from the lowest triplet (T1) to the singlet excited state (S1), where these states are separated by a small energy gap (Est), followed by a radiative transition to the ground state (S0). Rate constants relating TADF processes in 1,2,3,5-tetrakis(carbazol-9-yl)-4,6-dicyanobenzene (4CzIPN) were determined at four different solvent polarities (toluene, dichloromethane, ethanol and acetonitrile). We revealed that the rate constant of RISC, kRISC, which is the most important factor for TADF, was significantly enhanced by a reduced Est in more polar solvents. The smaller Est was mainly attributable to a stabilization of the S1 state. This stabilization also induced a Stokes shift in fluorescence through a relatively large change of the dipole moment between S1 and S0 states (17 D). Despite of this factor, we observed a negative correlation between Est and efficiency of the delayed fluorescence (d). This was ascribed to a lower intersystem crossing rate, kISC, and increased non-radiative decay from S1, k_nr^s, in polar solvents.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Spectroscopy, Oxygen, Quantum mechanics, Solvent, Toluene, Excited state, Stokes shift


Ru(II) complexes incorporating both amide-linked bithiophene donor ancillary ligands and laminate acceptor ligands; dipyrido[3,2-a:2',3'-c]phenazine (dppz), tetrapyrido[3,2-a:2',3'-c:3'‘,2’‘-h:2’“,3”‘-j]phenazine (tpphz), and 9,11,20,22-tetraazatetrapyrido[3,2-a:2’,3'-c:3'‘,2’‘-l:2’“,3”‘]-pentacene (tatpp) exhibit long-lived charge separated (CS) states, which have been analyzed using time-resolved transient absorption (TA), fluorescence, and electronic absorption spectroscopy in addition to ground state electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical measurements. These complexes possess two electronically relevant (3) MLCT states related to electron occupation of MOs localized predominantly on the proximal “bpy-like” portion and central (or distal) “phenazine-like” portion of the acceptor ligand as well as energetically similar (3) LC and (3) ILCT states. The unusually long excited state lifetimes (τ up to 7 μs) observed in these complexes reflect an equilibration of the (3) MLCTprox or (3) MLCTdist states with additional triplet states, including a (3) LC state and a (3) ILCT state that formally localizes a hole on the bithiophene moiety and an electron on the laminate acceptor ligand. Coordination of a Zn(II) ion to the open coordination site of the laminate acceptor ligand is observed to significantly lower the energy of the (3) MLCTdist state by decreasing the magnitude of the excited state dipole and resulting in much shorter excited state lifetimes. The presence of the bithiophene donor group is reported to substantially extend the lifetime of these Zn adducts via formation of a (3) ILCT state that can equilibrate with the (3) MLCTdist state. In tpphz complexes, Zn(II) coordination can reorder the energy of the (3) MLCTprox and (3) MLCTdist states such that there is a distinct switch from one state to the other. The net result is a series of complexes that are capable of forming CS states with electron-hole spatial separation of up to 14 Å and possess exceptionally long lifetimes by equilibration with other triplet states.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Atom, Ligand, Carbon monoxide, Excited state, Ground state, Coordination number


Time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) computations and steady-state electronic spectroscopy measurements are performed on two recently synthesized pyrrolopyridazines to account for the detrimental effect of benzoyl substitution on the blue fluorescence emission. In case of the highly-fluorescent ester derivative, planar in ground state, we show that TD-DFT using the PBE0 and B3LYP hybrid functionals in the state-specific solvation approach provides an accurate description of absorption and emission properties. In benzoyl-pyrrolopyridazine, the (pre-twisted) orientation of the benzoyl group and the solvent polarity are both found to modulate the nature of the lowest excited states. The first excited state has nπ* character at ground state geometry of the main conformer (carbonyl group facing the diazine ring) in nonpolar solvents and become nearly degenerate with a ππ* state in polar solvents. The latter, lower than the nπ* state at the ground state geometry of a minor conformer, relaxes into a twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT). Experimental absorption and excitation spectra are consistent with the conformational dependent picture of the lowest excited state (as derived from TD-DFT). A rather qualitative agreement in predicting the fluorescence emission wavelength is achieved in computations employing the CAM-B3LYP and BH&HLYP functionals, whereas global hybrids with low or moderate amount of exact exchange exhibit the expected TD-DFT failure with up to 1 eV underestimated transition energies.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Light, Density functional theory, Solvent, Excited state, Ground state, Hybrid functional, Time-dependent density functional theory


Proton transfer is one of the most important elementary reactions in chemistry and biology. The role of proton in the course of proton transfer, whether it is active or passive, has been the subject of intense investigations. Here we demonstrate the active role of proton in the excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) of 10-hydroxybenzo[h]quinoline (HBQ). The ESIPT of HBQ proceeds in 12±6 fs, and the rate is slowed down to 25±5 fs for DBQ where the reactive hydrogen is replaced by deuterium. The results are consistent with the ballistic proton wave packet transfer within the experimental uncertainty. This ultrafast proton transfer leads to the coherent excitation of the vibrational modes of the product state. In contrast, ESIPT of 2-(2'-hydroxyphenyl)benzothiazole (HBT) is much slower at 62 fs and shows no isotope dependence implying complete passive role of the proton.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Chemical reaction, Hydrogen, Proton, Atom, Neutron, Excited state, Nuclear isomer


We report the preparation, photophysical characterization, and computed excited state energies for a family of Cr(III) complexes based on iminopyridine (impy) Schiff base ligands: compounds 1 and 2 feature hexadentate ligands where tren (tris-(2-aminoethyl)amine) caps three impy groups; compounds 3 and 4 are tris(bidentate) analogues of 1 and 2; compounds 2 and 4 contain methyl ester substituents to alter ligand donation properties relative to 1 and 3, respectively. Cyclic voltammograms exhibit multiple reversible ligand-based reductions; the hexadentate and tris(bidentate) analogues have almost identical reduction potentials, and the addition of ester substituents shifts reduction potentials by +200 mV. The absorption spectra of the hexadentate complexes show improved absorption of visible light compared to the tris(bidentate) analogues. Over periods of several hours to days, the complexes undergo ligand-substitution-based decomposition in 1 M HCl((aq)) and acetonitrile. For freshly prepared sample solutions in CH(3)CN, time-resolved emission and transient absorption measurements for 4 show a doublet excited state with 17-19 μs lifetime at room temperature, while no emission or transient absorption signals from the doublet states are observed for the hexadentate analogue 2 under the same conditions. The electronic structure contributions to the differences in observed photophysical properties are compared by extensive computational analyses (UB3LYP MD-DFT and TD-DFT-NTO). These studies indicate that the presence of nonligated bridgehead nitrogen atoms for 1 and 2 significantly reduce excited state doublet, quartet, and sextet energies and change the character of the low lying doublet states in comparison to species that show population of doublet excited states.

Concepts: Ammonia, Photon, Light, Atom, Nitrogen, Ligand, Excited state, Schiff base