Shake it to Move Electrons (aka Good Vibrations)
The Meijer and Weinstein Groups have followed up their recent Science paper with an article in Nature Chemistry. In the former paper they showed that for a particular transition metal complex it is possible to influence the decay pathway after excitation using a visible photon. In particular, it turned out to be possible to completely shut down one of the pathways leading back to the ground state.
The Science paper just showed that the effect was possible, but did not really explain why the effect was occurring. For the current publication 3 different transition metal complexes, all synthesised by dr. Paul Scattergood, were investigated by dr. Milan Delor using the same laser setup at RAL. These intricate experiments were complemented by extensive DFT calculation performed by Theo Keane, a PhD student in the Meijer group. The conclusions from this work are that it is possible to design molecules that show the effect in more or lesser magnitude. Moreover, the calculations show that the efficiency of blocking one of the decay pathways is controlled by how two of the excited state potential energy surfaces overlap with each other.
The paper is also featured on the front cover of the September issue of Nature Chemistry and is subject to a news and views article by the renowned photophysicist, Igor Rubtsov, a pioneer in this area. The review of the paper can be found here.