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Tracking multiple components of a nuclear wavepacket in photoexcited Cu(I)-phenanthroline complex using ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Thomas Northey, Professor Thomas Penfold



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Disentangling the strong interplay between electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom is essential to achieve a full understanding of excited state processes during ultrafast nonadiabatic chemical reactions. However, the complexity of multi-dimensional potential energy surfaces means that this remains challenging. The energy flow during vibrational and electronic relaxation processes can be explored with structural sensitivity by probing a nuclear wavepacket using femtosecond time-resolved X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (TR-XANES). However, it remains unknown to what level of detail vibrational motions are observable in this X-ray technique. Herein we track the wavepacket dynamics of a prototypical [Cu(2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline)2]+ complex using TR-XANES. We demonstrate that sensitivity to individual wavepacket components can be modulated by the probe energy and that the bond length change associated with molecular breathing mode can be tracked with a sub-Angstrom resolution beyond optical-domain observables. Importantly, our results reveal how state-of-the-art TR-XANES provides deeper insights of ultrafast nonadiabatic chemical reactions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Katayama T, Northey T, Gawelda W, Milne CJ, Vankó G, Lima FA, Bohinc R, Németh Z, Nozawa S, Sato T, Khakhulin D, Szlachetko J, Togashi T, Owada S, Adachi S, Bressler C, Yabashi M, Penfold TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2019

Volume: 10

Online publication date: 09/08/2019

Acceptance date: 18/07/2019

Date deposited: 10/08/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11499-w


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Funder referenceFunder name
NKFIH FK 124460
RPG-2016-103Leverhulme Trust, The