We present a general method for tracking molecular relaxation along different pathways from an excited state down to the ground state. We follow the excited state dynamics of cytosine pumped near the S0–S1 resonance using ultrafast laser pulses in the deep ultraviolet and probed with strong field near infrared pulses which ionize and dissociate the molecules. The fragment ions are detected via time of flight mass spectroscopy as a function of pump probe delay and probe pulse intensity. Our measurements reveal that different molecular fragments show different timescales, indicating that there are multiple relaxation pathways down to the ground state. We interpret our measurements with the help of ab initio electronic structure calculations of both the neutral molecule and the molecular cation for different conformations en route to relaxation back down to the ground state. Our measurements and calculations show passage through two seams of conical intersections between ground and excited states and demonstrate the ability of dissociative ionization pump probe measurements in conjunction with ab initio electronic structure calculations to track molecular relaxation through multiple pathways.
Distinguishing between relaxation pathways by combining dissociative ionization pump probe spectroscopy and ab initio calculations: A case study of cytosine
Marija Kotur, Thomas C. Weinacht, Congyi Zhou, Kurt A. Kistler, Spiridoula Matsika; Distinguishing between relaxation pathways by combining dissociative ionization pump probe spectroscopy and ab initio calculations: A case study of cytosine. J. Chem. Phys. 14 May 2011; 134 (18): 184309. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3586812
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