Transient Changes in Molecular Geometries and How to Model Them

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Light-induced chemical processes are accompanied by molecular motion on the femtosecond time scale. Uncovering this dynamical motion is central to understanding the chemical reaction on a fundamental level. This thesis focuses on the aspects of excess excitation energy dissipation via dynamic changes in molecular structure, vibrations and solvation. In this thesis, we employ our recently developed Quantum-/Molecular -Mechanical Direct Dynamics method to do simulations of transition metal complexes in solution, to uncover their energy dissipation channels, and how they are affected by the solvent. The simulations has also served as benchmarks on this newly developed implementation First, we establish that the chosen model provides a trustworthy description of the systems; since transition metals are heavier than purely organic systems, we test a range of approximations to relativistic quantum mechanic descriptions, to ascertain the accuracy of the quantum model in the Direct Dynamics simulations. We then test - and improve - the framework for calculating the experimental X-ray Diffuse Scattering Difference signal from (any kind of) Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. Comparisons of purely classical MD simulations to literature Direct Dynamics simulations delineate the boundaries for the force-field approximation: Classical MD provides a solvent shell response sufficient for experimental fits, but fails to model specific solvent shell changes, such as intercalation. The first Direct Dynamics project of this work focuses on a bi-metallic Ir complex, where the excited state bond formation results in a large Ir-Ir contraction with oscillatory behaviour. Forty simulated excited state trajectories of 3.5 ps each compare well with experimental results, and uncover a new vibrational mode. We observe how the wide distribution of ground state geometries is responsible for decoherence, and that the solvent cage actually facilitates coherent motion, by blocking the newly discovered vibrational mode. We furthermore observe a non-specific, rotational solvent response to the excitation. The second Direct Dynamics project studies the effect of solvation on a bi-centred Ru-Co complex, and we observe how the intercalation solvation response which was lost in the study using only force-fields, is recovered in the Direc Dynamics description.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDTU Chemistry
Number of pages184
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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