X-ray transient absorption reveals the 1Au (nπ*) state of pyrazine in electronic relaxation
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Electronic relaxation in organic chromophores often proceeds via states not directly accessible by photoexcitation. We report on the photoinduced dynamics of pyrazine that involves such states, excited by a 267 nm laser and probed with X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy in a table-top setup. In addition to the previously characterized 1B2u (ππ*) (S2) and 1B3u (nπ*) (S1) states, the participation of the optically dark 1Au (nπ*) state is assigned by a combination of experimental X-ray core-to-valence spectroscopy, electronic structure calculations, nonadiabatic dynamics simulations, and X-ray spectral computations. Despite 1Au (nπ*) and 1B3u (nπ*) states having similar energies at relaxed geometry, their X-ray absorption spectra differ largely in transition energy and oscillator strength. The 1Au (nπ*) state is populated in 200 ± 50 femtoseconds after electronic excitation and plays a key role in the relaxation of pyrazine to the ground state.