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Fragment Diabatization Linear Vibronic Coupling Model for Quantum Dynamics of Multichromophoric Systems: Population of the Charge-Transfer State in the Photoexcited Guanine–Cytosine Pair

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journal contribution
posted on 16.07.2021, 19:43 by James A. Green, Martha Yaghoubi Jouybari, Haritha Asha, Fabrizio Santoro, Roberto Improta
We introduce a method (FrD-LVC) based on a fragment diabatization (FrD) for the parametrization of a linear vibronic coupling (LVC) model suitable for studying the photophysics of multichromophore systems. In combination with effective quantum dynamics (QD) propagations with multilayer multiconfigurational time-dependent Hartree (ML-MCTDH), the FrD-LVC approach gives access to the study of the competition between intrachromophore decays, like those at conical intersections, and interchromophore processes, like exciton localization/delocalization and the involvement of charge-transfer (CT) states. We used FrD-LVC parametrized with time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations, adopting either CAM-B3LYP or ωB97X-D functionals, to study the ultrafast photoexcited QD of a guanine–cytosine (GC) hydrogen-bonded pair, within a Watson–Crick arrangement, considering up to 12 coupled diabatic electronic states and the effect of all of the 99 vibrational coordinates. The bright excited states localized on C and, especially, on G are predicted to be strongly coupled to the G → C CT state, which is efficiently and quickly populated after an excitation to any of the four lowest energy bright local excited states. Our QD simulations show that more than 80% of the excited population on G and ∼50% of that on C decay to this CT state in less than 50 fs. We investigate the role of vibronic effects in the population of the CT state and show that it depends mainly on its large reorganization energy so that it can occur even when it is significantly less stable than the bright states in the Franck–Condon region. At the same time, we document that the formation of the GC pair almost suppresses the involvement of dark nπ* excited states in the photoactivated dynamics.