Combined TDDFT and AIM Insights into Photoinduced Excited State Intramolecular Proton Transfer (ESIPT) Mechanism in Hydroxyl- and Amino-Anthraquinone Solution

Scientific Reports
Daoyuan ZhengGuang-Jiu Zhao


Time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) and atoms in molecules (AIM) theory are combined to study the photoinduced excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) dynamics for eight anthraquinones (AQs) derivatives in solution. The calculated absorption and emission spectra are consistent with the available experimental data, verifying the suitability of the theory selected. The systems with the excited-state exothermic proton transfer, such as 1-HAQ, 1,5-DHAQ and TFAQ, emit completely from transfer structure (T), while the reactions for those without ESIPT including 1,4-DHAQ and AAAQ appear to be endothermic. Three reaction properties of three systems (1,8-DHAQ, DCAQ and CAAQ) are between the exothermic and endothermic, sensitive to the solvent. Energy scanning shows that 1,4-DHAQ and AAAQ exhibit the higher ESIPT energy barriers compared to 1-HAQ, 1,5-DHAQ and TFAQ with the "barrierless" ESIPT process. The ESIPT process is facilitated by the strengthening of hydrogen bonds in excited state. With AIM theory, it is observed that the change in electrons density ρ(r) and potential energy density V(r) at BCP position between ground state and excited state are crucial factors to quantitatively elucidate the ESIPT.


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