Temporal mapping of photochemical reactions and molecular excited states with carbon specificity

K. Wang, P. Murahari, K. Yokoyama, J. S. Lord, F. L. Pratt, J. He, L. Schulz, M. Willis, J. E. Anthony, N. A. Morley, L. Nuccio, A. Misquitta, D. J. Dunstan, K. Shimomura, I. Watanabe, S. Zhang, P. Heathcote, A. J. Drew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Photochemical reactions are essential to a large number of important industrial and biological processes. A method for monitoring photochemical reaction kinetics and the dynamics of molecular excitations with spatial resolution within the active molecule would allow a rigorous exploration of the pathway and mechanism of photophysical and photochemical processes. Here we demonstrate that laser-excited muon pump–probe spin spectroscopy (photo-μSR) can temporally and spatially map these processes with a spatial resolution at the single-carbon level in a molecule with a pentacene backbone. The observed time-dependent light-induced changes of an avoided level crossing resonance demonstrate that the photochemical reactivity of a specific carbon atom is modified as a result of the presence of the excited state wavefunction. This demonstrates the sensitivity and potential of this technique in probing molecular excitations and photochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalNature Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.J.D. would like to acknowledge financial support from the European Research Council (MuSES project, proposal number 307593) and Sichuan University. All authors would like to acknowledge the scientific and technical support provided by the ISIS pulsed muon and neutron source.We would like to acknowledge Litron Lasers Ltd., as this work would not have been possible without their exceptional customer service and technical expertise. K.W. was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. P.M. was funded by Queen Mary University of London, under the Principal’s Studentship scheme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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