Ultrafast formation of the benzoic acid triplet upon ultraviolet photolysis and its sequential photodissociation in solution

Chunfan Yang, Hongmei Su, Xuezhong Sun, Michael W. George

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Time-resolved infrared (TR-IR) absorption spectroscopy in both the femtosecond and nanosecond time domain has been applied to examine the photolysis of benzoic acid in acetonitrile solution following either 267 nm or 193 nm excitation. By combining the ultrafast and nanosecond TR-IR measurements, both the excited states and the photofragments have been detected and key mechanistic insights were obtained. We show that the solvent interaction modifies the excited state relaxation pathways and thus the population dynamics, leading to different photolysis behavior in solution from that observed in the gas phase. Vibrational energy transfer to solvents dissipates excitation energy efficiently, suppressing the photodissociation and depopulating the excited S 2 or S 3 state molecules to the lowest T 1 state with a rate of ∼2.5 ps after a delayed onset of ∼3.7 ps. Photolysis of benzoic acid using 267 nm excitation is dominated by the formation of the T 1 excited state and no photofragments could be detected. The results from TR-IR experiments using higher energy of 193 nm indicate that photodissociation proceeds more rapidly than the vibrational energy transfer to solvents and C-C bond fission becomes the dominant relaxation pathway in these experiments as featured by the prominent observation of the COOH photofragments and negligible yield of the T 1 excited state. The measured ultrafast formation of T 1 excited state supports the existence of the surface intersections of S 2S 1, S 2T 2, and S 1T 1T 2, and the large T 1 quantum yield of ∼0.65 indicates the importance of the excited state depopulation to triplet manifold as the key factor affecting the photophysical and photochemical behavior of the monomeric benzoic acid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number204507
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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