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Direct Observation of the Ultrafast Evolution of Open-Shell Biradical in Photochromic Radical Dimer

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posted on 25.04.2017, 00:00 by Yoichi Kobayashi, Hajime Okajima, Hikaru Sotome, Takeshi Yanai, Katsuya Mutoh, Yusuke Yoneda, Yasuteru Shigeta, Akira Sakamoto, Hiroshi Miyasaka, Jiro Abe
Delocalized biradicals have been extensively studied because of fundamental interests to singlet biradicals and several potential applications such as to two-photon absorption materials. However, many of the biradical studies only focus on the static properties of the rigid molecular structures. It is expected that the biradical properties of the delocalized biradicals are sensitive to the subtle changes of the molecular structures and their local environments. Therefore, the studies of the dynamic properties of the system will give further insight into stable radical chemistry. In this study, we directly probe the ultrafast dynamics of the delocalized biradical of a photochromic radical dimer, pentaarylbi­imidazole (PABI), by time-resolved visible and infrared spectroscopies and quantum chemical calculations with the extended multistate complete active space second-order perturbation theory (XMS-CASPT2). While the photogenerated transient species was considered to be a single species of the biradical, the present ultrafast spectroscopic study revealed the existence of two transient isomers differing in the contributions of biradical character. The origin of the two metastable isomers is most probably due to the substantial van der Waals interaction between the phenyl rings substituted at the imidazole rings. Unraveling the temporal evolution of the biradical contribution will stimulate to explore novel delocalized biradicals and to develop biradical-based photofunctional materials utilizing the dynamic properties.