• Directing the path of light-induced electron transfer at a molecular fork using vibrational excitation.

      Delor, Milan; Archer, Stuart A.; Keane, Theo; Meijer, Anthony J. H. M.; Sazanovich, Igor V.; Greetham, Gregory M.; Towrie, Michael; Weinstein, Julia A.; University of Sheffield; Research Complex at Harwell (Springer, 2017-06-19)
      Ultrafast electron transfer in condensed-phase molecular systems is often strongly coupled to intramolecular vibrations that can promote, suppress and direct electronic processes. Recent experiments exploring this phenomenon proved that light-induced electron transfer can be strongly modulated by vibrational excitation, suggesting a new avenue for active control over molecular function. Here, we achieve the first example of such explicit vibrational control through judicious design of a Pt(II)-acetylide charge-transfer Donor-Bridge-Acceptor-Bridge-Donor “fork” system: asymmetric 13C isotopic labelling of one of the two -C≡C-bridges makes the two parallel and otherwise identical Donor→Acceptor electron-transfer pathways structurally distinct, enabling independent vibrational perturbation of either. Applying an ultrafast UVpump(excitation)-IRpump(perturbation)-IRprobe(monitoring) pulse sequence, we show that the pathway that is vibrationally perturbed during UV-induced electron-transfer is dramatically slowed down compared to its unperturbed counterpart. One can thus choose the dominant electron transfer pathway. The findings deliver a new opportunity for precise perturbative control of electronic energy propagation in molecular devices.