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The interaction of water with α-alumina (i.e. α-Al2O3) surfaces is important in a variety of applications and a useful model for the interaction of water with environmentally abundant aluminosilicate phases. Despite its significance, studies of water interaction with α-Al2O3 surfaces other than the (0001) are extremely limited. Here we characterize the interaction of water (D2O) with a well defined α-Al2O3(1[1 with combining macron]02) surface in UHV both experimentally, using temperature programmed desorption and surface-specific vibrational spectroscopy, and theoretically, using periodic-slab density functional theory calculations. This combined approach makes it possible to demonstrate that water adsorption occurs only at a single well defined surface site (the so-called 1–4 configuration) and that at this site the barrier between the molecularly and dissociatively adsorbed forms is very low: 0.06 eV. A subset of OD stretch vibrations are parallel to this dissociation coordinate, and thus would be expected to be shifted to low frequencies relative to an uncoupled harmonic oscillator. To quantify this effect we solve the vibrational Schrödinger equation along the dissociation coordinate and find fundamental frequencies red-shifted by more than 1500 cm−1. Within the context of this model, at moderate temperatures, we further find that some fraction of surface deuterons are likely delocalized: dissociatively and molecularly absorbed states are no longer distinguishable.

In Near Edge X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy X-Ray photons are used to excite tightly bound core electrons to low-lying unoccupied orbitals of the system. This technique offers insight into the electronic structure of the system as well as useful structural information. In this work, we apply NEXAFS to two kinds of imidazolium based ionic liquids ([CnC1im]+[NTf2]- and [C4C1im]+[I]-). A combination of measurements and quantum chemical calculations of C K and N K NEXAFS resonances is presented. The simulations, based on the transition potential density functional theory method (TP-DFT), reproduce all characteristic features observed by the experiment. Furthermore, a detailed assignment of resonance features to excitation centers (carbon or nitrogen atoms) leads to a consistent interpretation of the spectra.

A multi-reference study of the byproduct formation for a ring-closed dithienylethene photoswitch
(2015)

Photodriven molecular switches are sometimes hindered in their performance by forming byproducts which act as dead ends in sequences of switching cycles, leading to rapid fatigue effects. Understanding the reaction pathways to unwanted byproducts is a prerequisite for preventing them. This article presents a study of the photochemical reaction pathways for byproduct formation in the photochromic switch 1,2-bis-(3-thienyl)-ethene. Specifically, using single-and multi-reference methods the post-deexcitation reaction towards the byproduct in the electronic ground state S-0 when starting from the S-1-S-0 conical intersection (CoIn), is considered in detail. We find an unusual low-energy pathway, which offers the possibility for the formation of a dyotropic byproduct. Several high-energy pathways can be excluded with high probability.

Nonlinear optical response of photochromic azobenzene-functionalized self-assembled monolayers
(2015)

The combination of photochromic and nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of azobenzene-functionalized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) constitutes an intriguing step towards novel photonic and optoelectronic devices. By utilizing the second-order NLO process of second harmonic generation (SHG), supported by density-functional theory and correlated wave function method calculations, we demonstrate that the photochromic interface provides the necessary prerequisites en route towards possible future technical applications: we find a high NLO contrast on the order of 16% between the switching states. These are furthermore accessible reversibly and with high efficiencies in terms of cross sections on the order of 10(-18) cm(2) for both photoisomerization reactions, i.e., drivable by means of low-power LED light sources. Finally, both photostationary states (PSSs) are thermally stable at ambient conditions.

Optical properties of modified diamondoids have been studied theoretically using vibrationally resolved electronic absorption, emission and resonance Raman spectra. A time-dependent correlation function approach has been used for electronic two-state models, comprising a ground state (g) and a bright, excited state (e), the latter determined from linear-response, time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT). The harmonic and Condon approximations were adopted. In most cases origin shifts, frequency alteration and Duschinsky rotation in excited states were considered. For other cases where no excited state geometry optimization and normal mode analysis were possible or desired, a short-time approximation was used. The optical properties and spectra have been computed for (i) a set of recently synthesized sp(2)/sp(3) hybrid species with CQC double-bond connected saturated diamondoid subunits, (ii) functionalized (mostly by thiol or thione groups) diamondoids and (iii) urotropine and other C-substituted diamondoids. The ultimate goal is to tailor optical and electronic features of diamondoids by electronic blending, functionalization and substitution, based on a molecular-level understanding of the ongoing photophysics.

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is a powerful tool for probing the local chemical environment of atoms near surfaces. When applied to soft matter, such as polymers, XPS spectra are frequently shifted and broadened due to thermal atom motion and by interchain interactions. We present a combined quantum mechanical QM/molecular dynamics (MD) simulation of X-ray photoelectron spectra of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) using oligomer models in order to account for and quantify these effects on the XPS (C1s) signal. In our study, molecular dynamics at finite temperature were performed with a classical forcefield and by ab initio MD (AIMD) using the Car-Parrinello method. Snapshots along, the trajectories represent possible conformers and/or neighbouring environments, with different C1s ionization potentials for individual C atoms leading to broadened XPS peaks. The latter are determined by Delta-Kohn Sham calculations. We also examine the experimental practice of gauging XPS (C1s) signals of alkylic C-atoms in C-containing polymers to the C1s signal of polyethylene.
We find that (i) the experimental XPS (C1s) spectra of PVA (position and width) can be roughly represented by single-strand models, (ii) interchain interactions lead to red-shifts of the XPS peaks by about 0.6 eV, and (iii) AIMD simulations match the findings from classical MD semi-quantitatively. Further, (iv) the gauging procedure of XPS (C1s) signals to the values of PE, introduces errors of about 0.5 eV. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Incorporating photochromic molecules into organic/inorganic hybrid materials may lead to photoresponsive systems. In such systems, the second-order nonlinear properties can be controlled via external stimulation with light at an appropriate wavelength. By creating photochromic molecular switches containing self-assembled monolayers on Si(111), we can demonstrate efficient reversible switching, which is accompanied by a pronounced modulation of the nonlinear optical (NLO) response of the system. The concept of utilizing functionalized photoswitchable Si surfaces could be a way for the generation of two-dimensional NLO switching materials, which are promising for applications in photonic and optoelectronic devices.

Oxide/water interfaces are ubiquitous in a wide variety of applications and the environment. Despite this ubiquity, and attendant decades of study, gaining molecular level insight into water/oxide interaction has proven challenging. In part, this challenge springs from a lack of tools to concurrently characterize changes in surface structure (i.e., water/oxide interaction from the perspective of the solid) and O-H population and local environment (i.e., water/oxide interaction from the water perspective). Here, we demonstrate the application of surface specific vibrational spectroscopy to the characterization of the interaction of the paradigmatic alpha-Al2O3(0001) surface and water. By probing both the interfacial Al-O (surface phonon) and O-H spectral response, we characterize this interaction from both perspectives. Through electronic structure calculation, we assign the interfacial Al-O response and rationalize its changes on surface dehydroxylation and reconstruction. Because our technique is all-optical and interface specific, it is equally applicable to oxide surfaces in vacuum, ambient atmospheres and at the solid/liquid interface. Application of this approach to additional alumina surfaces and other oxides thus seems likely to significantly expand our understanding of how water meets oxide surfaces and thus the wide variety of phenomena this interaction controls. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

System-bath problems in physics and chemistry are often described by Markovian master equations. However, the Markov approximation, i.e., neglect of bath memory effects is not always justified, and different measures of non-Markovianity have been suggested in the literature to judge the validity of this approximation. Here we calculate several computable measures of non-Markovianity for the non-trivial problem of a harmonic oscillator coupled to a large number of bath oscillators. The Multi Configurational Time Dependent Hart ree nietliod is used to provide a numerically converged solution of the system-bath Schrodinger equation, from which the appropriate quantities can be calculated. In particular, we consider measures based on trace-distances and quantum discord for a variety of initial states. These quantities have proven useful in the case of two-level and other small model systems Tpically encountered in quantum optics; but are less straightforward to interpret for the more complex model systems that are relevant for chemical physics.

Diarylethene derivatives are photochromic molecular switches, undergoing a ring-opening/-closing reaction by illumination with light. The symmetry of the closed form is determined by the WoodWard Hoffinann rules according to which the reaction proceeds by corirotatory rotation -in that case. Here, we show by a cOrnbined approach of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations that the Open isomer of 4,4'-(4,4'-(perfluorocydopent-1-ene-1,2-diyl)bis(5-methyl-thiophent-4,2,4-dipyridine) (PDTE) retains its open form upon adsorption on a Ag(111) surface. It caribe switched into a closed form, which we identify as the digrotatOly cydization product, by controlled manipulation 'With the STM tip, Evidence of an electric-field dependent switching-process 'is interpreted on the basis of a Simple electroStatic Model, which suggests that the reaction proceedS via an "upright" intermediate state. This pathway thus strongly differs from the switching reaction in solution.