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Synergistic Approach of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Molecular Simulations in the Characterization of Intramolecular Charge Transfer in Push-Pull Molecules

  • de cumis, siciliani
Publication Date
Jan 20, 2020
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The comprehensive characterization of Intramolecular Charge Transfer (ICT) stemming in push-pull molecules with a delocalized &pi / -system of electrons is noteworthy for a bespoke design of organic materials, spanning widespread applications from photovoltaics to nanomedicine imaging devices. Photo-induced ICT is characterized by structural reorganizations, which allows the molecule to adapt to the new electronic density distribution. Herein, we discuss recent photophysical advances combined with recent progresses in the computational chemistry of photoactive molecular ensembles. We focus the discussion on femtosecond Transient Absorption Spectroscopy (TAS) enabling us to follow the transition from a Locally Excited (LE) state to the ICT and to understand how the environment polarity influences radiative and non-radiative decay mechanisms. In many cases, the charge transfer transition is accompanied by structural rearrangements, such as the twisting or molecule planarization. The possibility of an accurate prediction of the charge‐transfer occurring in complex molecules and molecular materials represents an enormous advantage in guiding new molecular and materials design. We briefly report on recent advances in ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy, in particular, Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy (2DES), in unraveling the ICT nature of push-pull molecular systems. A theoretical description at the atomistic level of photo-induced molecular transitions can predict with reasonable accuracy the properties of photoactive molecules. In this framework, the review includes a discussion on the advances from simulation and modeling, which have provided, over the years, significant information on photoexcitation, emission, charge-transport, and decay pathways. Density Functional Theory (DFT) coupled with the Time-Dependent (TD) framework can describe electronic properties and dynamics for a limited system size. More recently, Machine Learning (ML) or deep learning approaches, as well as free-energy simulations containing excited state potentials, can speed up the calculations with transferable accuracy to more complex molecules with extended system size. A perspective on combining ultrafast spectroscopy with molecular simulations is foreseen for optimizing the design of photoactive compounds with tunable properties.

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