The Value of Different Experimental Observables: A Transient Absorption Study of the Ultraviolet Excitation Dynamics Operating in Nitrobenzene

Stuart W. Crane, Malcolm Garrow, Paul D. Lane, Kate Robertson, Alex Waugh, Jack M. Woolley, Vasilios G. Stavros, Martin J. Paterson, Stuart J. Greaves, Dave Townsend

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Excess energy redistribution dynamics operating in nitrobenzene under hexane and isopropanol solvation were investigated using ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy (TAS) with a 267 nm pump and a 340–750 nm white light continuum probe. The use of a nonpolar hexane solvent provides a proxy to the gas-phase environment, and the findings are directly compared with a recent time-resolved photoelectron imaging (TRPEI) study on nitrobenzene using the same excitation wavelength [L. Saalbach et al., J. Phys. Chem. A 2021, 125, 7174–7184]. Of note is the observation of a 1/e lifetime of 3.5–6.7 ps in the TAS data that was absent in the TRPEI measurements. This is interpreted as a dynamical signature of the T2 state in nitrobenzene─analogous to observations in the related nitronaphthalene system, and additionally supported by previous quantum chemistry calculations. The discrepancy between the TAS and TRPEI measurements is discussed, with the overall findings providing an example of how different spectroscopic techniques can exhibit varying sensitivity to specific steps along the overall reaction coordinate connecting reactants to photoproducts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6425-6436
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number31
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023


  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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