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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 cm2 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 sp2/sp3 hybrid species with C[double bond, length as m-dash]C 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.

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.

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 S0 when starting from the S1–S0 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.

Carbon monoxide on copper surfaces continues to be a fascinating, rich microlab for many questions evolving in surface science. Recently, hot-electron mediated, femtosecond-laser pulse induced dynamics of CO molecules on Cu(100) were the focus of experiments [Inoue et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 186101 (2016)] and theory [Novko et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 016806 (2019)], unraveling details of the vibrational nonequilibrium dynamics on ultrashort (subpicoseconds) timescales. In the present work, full-dimensional time-resolved hot-electron driven dynamics are studied by molecular dynamics with electronic friction (MDEF). Dissipation is included by a friction term in a Langevin equation which describes the coupling of molecular degrees of freedom to electron-hole pairs in the copper surface, calculated from gradient-corrected density functional theory (DFT) via a local density friction approximation (LDFA). Relaxation due to surface phonons is included by a generalized Langevin oscillator model. The hot-electron induced excitation is described via a time-dependent electronic temperature, the latter derived from an improved two-temperature model. Our parameter-free simulations on a precomputed potential energy surface allow for excellent statistics, and the observed trends are confirmed by on-the-fly ab initio molecular dynamics with electronic friction (AIMDEF) calculations. By computing time-resolved frequency maps for selected molecular vibrations, instantaneous frequencies, probability distributions, and correlation functions, we gain microscopic insight into hot-electron driven dynamics and we can relate the time evolution of vibrational internal CO stretch-mode frequencies to measured data, notably an observed redshift. Quantitatively, the latter is found to be larger in MDEF than in experiment and possible reasons are discussed for this observation. In our model, in addition we observe the excitation and time evolution of large-amplitude low-frequency modes, lateral CO surface diffusion, and molecular desorption. Effects of surface atom motion and of the laser fluence are also discussed.

A novel quantum method to deal with typical system-bath dynamical problems is introduced. Subsystem discrete variable representation and bath coherent-state sets are used to write down a multiconfigurational expansion of the wave function of the whole system. With the help of the Dirac-Frenkel variational principle, simple equations of motion-a kind of Schrodinger-Langevin equation for the subsystem coupled to (pseudo) classical equations for the bath-are derived. True dissipative dynamics at all times is obtained by coupling the bath to a secondary, classical Ohmic bath, which is modeled by adding a friction coefficient in the derived pseudoclassical bath equations. The resulting equations are then solved for a number of model problems, ranging from tunneling to vibrational relaxation dynamics. Comparison of the results with those of exact, multiconfiguration time-dependent Hartree calculations in systems with up to 80 bath oscillators shows that the proposed method can be very accurate and might be of help in studying realistic problems with very large baths. To this end, its linear scaling behavior with respect to the number of bath degrees of freedom is shown in practice with model calculations using tens of thousands of bath oscillators.

The results of a quantum-mechanical study of vibrational relaxation of hydrogen adsorbed on a Si(100) surface with the multi-configurational time-dependent Hartree (MCTDH) method are presented. A two-dimensional subsystem is coupled non-linearly to a bath of harmonic oscillators (phonons of the Si bulk), and the relaxation of subsystem vibrations proceeds primarily via a two-phonon process. Characteristic times of the system evolution agree well with our previous perturbation theory study. The vibrational population decay is non-exponential, exhibiting pronounced recurrences due to finite bath size. The dependence of the lifetimes of the vibrational levels on the bath size and on the coupling details is investigated.

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.

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.