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We have studied the photoinduced low spin (LS) to high spin (HS) conversion of [Fe(bipy)3]2+ in aqueous solution. In a laser pump/X-ray probe synchrotron setup permitting simultaneous, time-resolved X-ray diffuse scattering (XDS) and X-ray spectroscopic measurements at a 3.26 MHz repetition rate, we observed the interplay between intramolecular dynamics and the intermolecular caging solvent response with better than 100 ps time resolution. On this time scale, the initial ultrafast spin transition and the associated intramolecular geometric structure changes are long completed, as is the solvent heating due to the initial energy dissipation from the excited HS molecule. Combining information from X-ray emission spectroscopy and scattering, the excitation fraction as well as the temperature and density changes of the solvent can be closely followed on the subnanosecond time scale of the HS lifetime, allowing the detection of an ultrafast change in bulk solvent density. An analysis approach directly utilizing the spectroscopic data in the XDS analysis effectively reduces the number of free parameters, and both combined permit extraction of information about the ultrafast structural dynamics of the caging solvent, in particular, a decrease in the number of water molecules in the first solvation shell is inferred, as predicted by recent theoretical work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Part A: Molecules, Spectroscopy, Kinetics, Environment and General Theory
Issue number40
Pages (from-to)9878-9887
StatePublished - 2012
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 35
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ID: 12841462