Ultrafast Proton Transfer to Solvent: Molecularity and Intermediates from Solvation- and Diffusion-Controlled Regimes
journal contributionposted on 02.05.2007, 00:00 by J. L. Pérez-Lustres, F. Rodriguez-Prieto, M. Mosquera, T. A. Senyushkina, N. P. Ernsting, S. A. Kovalenko
Photoinduced proton transfer (PT) from cations 6-hydroxyquinolinium (6HQc) and 6-hydroxy-1-methylquinolinium (6MQc) to water and alcohols, and solvation of the zwitterionic conjugate base 1-methylquinolinium-6-olate (6MQz) were studied with stationary and transient absorption spectroscopy and by quantum chemical calculations. Transient emission spectra from 6MQz in acetonitrile and protic solvents shift dynamically to the red without changing their shape and intensity. The shift matches the solvation correlation function C(t) either measured with known solvatochromic probes coumarin 343 and coumarin 153 or derived from infrared/dielectric-loss data on neat solvents. This indicates that 6MQz monitors the solvation dynamics and that no intramolecular electron transfer occurs on a subpicosecond or longer time scale. The PT dynamics S(t) from 6HQc and 6MQc closely follows C(t), being initially 2−3 times slower. This allows for the conclusion that PT is controlled by solvation, with a barrier of 2 kJ/mol. In water, a pre-condition of this ultrafast reaction seems to be hydrogen-bonding between the negatively charged oxygen and two water molecules, resulting in a complex 6HQc:H2O:H2O. The complex is stable due to a high (47 kJ/mol) bonding energy between 6HQc and a water molecule. In acetonitrile, the reaction equilibrium is strongly shifted to the cation. There an intermediate PT state was detected, which may be ascribed to the cationic form 6HQc:H2O due to residual water impurities. In water−acetonitrile mixtures, the ultrafast solvent-controlled PT is followed by a diffusion-controlled reaction; the measured rate kD ≈ 1010 s-1 M-1 is characteristic for simple bimolecular diffusion. The dependence of the short-time PT signal on water concentration can be fitted with a Poisson distribution of water molecules around the cation. Altogether, the short-time and long-time behaviors provide strong evidence that diffusion of only one water molecule is sufficient to detach the proton. Subsequent solvent stabilization of the products completes the PT reaction.