Ultrafast valence to non-valence excited state dynamics in a common anionic chromophore.
ABSTRACT: Non-valence states in neutral molecules (Rydberg states) have well-established roles and importance in photochemistry, however, considerably less is known about the role of non-valence states in photo-induced processes in anions. Here, femtosecond time-resolved photoelectron imaging is used to show that photoexcitation of the S1(??*) state of the methyl ester of deprotonated para-coumaric acid - a model chromophore for photoactive yellow protein (PYP) - leads to a bifurcation of the excited state wavepacket. One part remains on the S1(??*) state forming a twisted intermediate, whilst a second part leads to the formation of a non-valence (dipole-bound) state. Both populations eventually decay independently by vibrational autodetachment. Valence-to-non-valence internal conversion has hitherto not been observed in the intramolecular photophysics of an isolated anion, raising questions into how common such processes might be, given that many anionic chromophores have bright valence states near the detachment threshold.
Project description:The T<sub>d</sub> -symmetric [CsO<sub>4</sub> ]<sup>+</sup> ion, featuring Cs in an oxidation state of 9, is computed to be a minimum. Cs uses outer core 5s and 5p orbitals to bind the oxygen atoms. The valence Cs 6s orbital lies too high to be involved in bonding, and contributes to Rydberg levels only. From a molecular orbital perspective, the bonding scheme is reminiscent of XeO<sub>4</sub> : an octet of electrons to bind electronegative ligands, and no low-lying acceptor orbitals on the central atom. In this sense, Cs<sup>+</sup> resembles hypervalent Xe.
Project description:Attosecond probing of core-level electronic transitions provides a sensitive tool for studying valence molecular dynamics with atomic, state, and charge specificity. In this report, we employ attosecond transient absorption spectroscopy to follow the valence dynamics of strong-field initiated processes in methyl bromide. By probing the 3d core-to-valence transition, we resolve the strong field excitation and ensuing fragmentation of the neutral ?* excited states of methyl bromide. The results provide a clear signature of the non-adiabatic passage of the excited state wavepacket through a conical intersection. We additionally observe competing, strong field initiated processes arising in both the ground state and ionized molecule corresponding to vibrational and spin-orbit motion, respectively. The demonstrated ability to resolve simultaneous dynamics with few-femtosecond resolution presents a clear path forward in the implementation of attosecond XUV spectroscopy as a general tool for probing competing and complex molecular phenomena with unmatched temporal resolution.
Project description:Transient absorption spectroscopy is utilized extensively for measurements of bound- and quasibound-state dynamics of atoms and molecules. The extension of this technique into the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) region with attosecond pulses has the potential to attain unprecedented time resolution. Here we apply this technique to aligned-in-space molecules. The XUV pulses are much shorter than the time during which the molecules remain aligned, typically [Formula: see text]100 fs. However, transient absorption is not an instantaneous probe, because long-lived coherences re-emit for picoseconds to nanoseconds. Due to dephasing of the rotational wavepacket, it is not clear if these coherences will be evident in the absorption spectrum, and whether the properties of the initial excitations will be preserved. We studied Rydberg states of N[Formula: see text] and O[Formula: see text] from 12 to 23?eV. We were able to determine the polarization direction of the electronic transitions, and hence identify the symmetry of the final states.
Project description:The d and f electrons in correlated metals are often neither fully localized around their host nuclei nor fully itinerant. This localized/itinerant duality underlies the correlated electronic states of the high-Tc cuprate superconductors and the heavy-fermion intermetallics and is nowhere more apparent than in the 5f valence electrons of plutonium. Here, we report the full set of symmetry-resolved elastic moduli of PuCoGa5--the highest Tc superconductor of the heavy fermions (Tc = 18.5 K)--and find that the bulk modulus softens anomalously over a wide range in temperature above Tc. The elastic symmetry channel in which this softening occurs is characteristic of a valence instability--therefore, we identify the elastic softening with fluctuations of the plutonium 5f mixed-valence state. These valence fluctuations disappear when the superconducting gap opens at Tc, suggesting that electrons near the Fermi surface play an essential role in the mixed-valence physics of this system and that PuCoGa5 avoids a valence transition by entering the superconducting state. The lack of magnetism in PuCoGa5 has made it difficult to reconcile with most other heavy-fermion superconductors, where superconductivity is generally believed to be mediated by magnetic fluctuations. Our observations suggest that valence fluctuations play a critical role in the unusually high Tc of PuCoGa5.
Project description:Isolated ?-stacked dimer radical anions present the simplest model of an excess electron in a ?-stacked environment. Here, frequency-, angle-, and time-resolved photoelectron imaging together with electronic structure calculations have been used to characterise the ?-stacked coenzyme Q0 dimer radical anion and its exited state dynamics. In the ground electronic state, the excess electron is localised on one monomer with a planar para-quinone ring, which is solvated by the second monomer in which carbonyl groups are bent out of the para-quinone ring plane. Through the ?-stacking interaction, the dimer anion exhibits a number of charge-transfer (intermolecular) valence-localised resonances situated in the detachment continuum that undergo efficient internal conversion to a cluster dipole-bound state (DBS) on a ?60 fs timescale. In turn, the DBS undergoes vibration-mediated autodetachment on a 2.0 ± 0.2 ps timescale. Experimental vibrational structure and supporting calculations assign the intermolecular dynamics to be facilitated by vibrational wagging modes of the carbonyl groups on the non-planar monomer. At photon energies ?0.6-1.0 eV above the detachment threshold, a competition between photoexcitation of an intermolecular resonance leading to the DBS, and photoexcitation of an intramolecular resonance leading to monomer-like dynamics further illustrates the ?-stacking specific dynamics. Overall, this study provides the first direct observation of both internal conversion of resonances into a DBS, and characterisation of a vibration-mediated autodetachment in real-time.
Project description:We address the long-standing mystery of the nonmagnetic insulating state of the intermediate valence compound SmB6. Within a combination of the local density approximation (LDA) and an exact diagonalization (ED) of an effective discrete Anderson impurity model, the intermediate valence ground state with the f-shell occupation ?n4f??=?5.6 is found for the Sm atom in SmB6. This ground state is a singlet, and the first excited triplet state ~3?meV higher in the energy. SmB6 is a narrow band insulator already in LDA, with the direct band gap of ~10?meV. The electron correlations increase the band gap which now becomes indirect. Thus, the many-body effects are relevant to form the indirect band gap, crucial for the idea of "topological Kondo insulator" in SmB6. Also, an actinide analog PuB6 is considered, and the intermediate valence singlet ground state is found for the Pu atom. We propose that [Sm, Pu]B6 belong to a new class of the intermediate valence materials with the multi-orbital "Kondo-like" singlet ground-state. Crucial role of complex spin-orbital f(??n)-f?(?n+1) multiplet structure differently hybridized with ligand states in such Racah materials is discussed.
Project description:Realization of distributed quantum systems requires fast generation and long-term storage of quantum states. Ground atomic states enable memories with storage times in the range of a minute, however their relatively weak interactions do not allow fast creation of non-classical collective states. Rydberg atomic systems feature fast preparation of singly excited collective states and their efficient mapping into light, but storage times in these approaches have not yet exceeded a few microseconds. Here we demonstrate a system that combines fast quantum state generation and long-term storage. An initially prepared coherent state of an atomic memory is transformed into a non-classical collective atomic state by Rydberg-level interactions in less than a microsecond. By sheltering the quantum state in the ground atomic levels, the storage time is increased by almost two orders of magnitude. This advance opens a door to a number of quantum protocols for scalable generation and distribution of entanglement.
Project description:In Rydberg atoms, at least one electron is excited to a state with a high principal quantum number. In an ultracold environment, this low-energy electron can scatter off a ground state atom allowing for the formation of a Rydberg molecule consisting of one Rydberg atom and several ground state atoms. Here we investigate those Rydberg molecules created by photoassociation for the spherically symmetric S-states. A step by step increase of the principal quantum number up to n=111 enables us to go beyond the previously observed dimer and trimer states up to a molecule, where four ground state atoms are bound by one Rydberg atom. The increase of bound atoms and the decreasing binding potential per atom with principal quantum number results finally in an overlap of spectral lines. The associated density-dependent line broadening sets a fundamental limit, for example, for the optical thickness per blockade volume in Rydberg quantum optics experiments.
Project description:A pressure-induced anomalous valence crossover without structural phase transition is observed in archetypal cubic YbCu5 based heavy Fermion systems. The Yb valence is found to decrease with increasing pressure, indicating a pressure-induced crossover from a localized 4f 13 state to the valence fluctuation regime, which is not expected for Yb systems with conventional c-f hybridization. This result further highlights the remarkable singularity of the valence behavior in compressed YbCu5-based compounds. The intermetallics Yb2Pd2Sn, which shows two quantum critical points (QCP) under pressure and has been proposed as a potential candidate for a reentrant Yb2+ state at high pressure, was also studied for comparison. In this compound, the Yb valence monotonically increases with pressure, disproving a scenario of a reentrant non-magnetic Yb2+ state at the second QCP.
Project description:Cerium oxide (CeO2) nanoparticles, which are used in a variety of products including solar cells, gas sensors, and catalysts, are expected to increase in industrial use. This will subsequently lead to additional occupational exposures, making toxicology screenings crucial. Previous toxicology studies have presented conflicting results as to the extent of CeO2 toxicity, which is hypothesized to be due to the ability of Ce to exist in both a +3 and +4 valence state. Thus, to study whether valence state and oxygen vacancy concentration are important in CeO2 toxicity, CeO2 nanoparticles were doped with gadolinium to adjust the cation (Ce, Gd) and anion (O) defect states. The hypothesis that doping would increase toxicity and decrease antioxidant abilities as a result of increased oxygen vacancies and inhibition of +3 to +4 transition was tested. Differences in toxicity and reactivity based on valence state were determined in RLE-6TN rat alveolar epithelial and NR8383 rat alveolar macrophage cells using enhanced dark field microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and annexin V/propidium iodide cell viability stain. Results from EPR indicated that as doping increased, antioxidant potential decreased. Alternatively, doping had no effect on toxicity at 24 h. The present results imply that as doping increases, thus subsequently increasing the Ce(3+)/Ce(4+) ratio, antioxidant potential decreases, suggesting that differences in reactivity of CeO2 are due to the ability of Ce to transition between the two valence states and the presence of increased oxygen vacancies, rather than dependent on a specific valence state.