Electrostatic Interactions Are Key to CO n‑π* Shifts: An Experimental Proof

2016-06-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Tapas Haldar Sayan Bagchi
Carbonyl n-π* transitions are known to undergo blue shift in polar and hydrogen-bonding solvents. Using semiempirical expressions, previous studies hypothesized several factors like change in dipole moment and hydrogen-bond strength upon excitation to cause the blue shift. Theoretically, ground-state electrostatics has been predicted to be the key to the observed shifts, however, an experimental proof has been lacking. Our experimental results demonstrate a consistent linear correlation between IR (ground-state phenomenon) and n-π* frequency shifts (involves both ground and excited electronic-states) of carbonyls in hydrogen-bonded and non-hydrogen-bonded environments. The carbonyl hydrogen-bonding status is experimentally verified from deviation in n-π*/fluorescence correlation. The IR/n-π* correlation validates the key role of electrostatic stabilization of the ground state toward n-π* shifts and demonstrates the electrostatic nature of carbonyl hydrogen bonds. n-π* shifts show linear sensitivity to calculated electrostatic fields on carbonyls. Our results portray the potential for n-π* absorption to estimate local polarity in biomolecules and to probe chemical reactions involving carbonyl activation/stabilization.