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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Feb 9;127(5):1463-72.

Ultrafast time-resolved study of photophysical processes involved in the photodeprotection of p-hydroxyphenacyl caged phototrigger compounds.

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Department of Chemistry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong S.A.R., P. R. China.


A combined femtosecond Kerr gated time-resolved fluorescence (fs-KTRF) and picosecond Kerr gated time-resolved resonance Raman (ps-KTR(3)) study is reported for two p-hydroxyphenacyl (pHP) caged phototriggers, HPDP and HPA, in neat acetonitrile and water/acetonitrile (1:1 by volume) solvents. Fs-KTRF spectroscopy was employed to characterize the spectral properties and dynamics of the singlet excited states, and the ps-KTR(3) was used to monitor the formation and subsequent reaction of triplet state. These results provide important evidence for elucidation of the initial steps for the pHP deprotection mechanism. An improved fs-KTRF setup was developed to extend its detectable spectral range down to the 270 nm UV region while still covering the visible region up to 600 nm. This combined with the advantage of KTRF in directly monitoring the temporal evolution of the overall fluorescence profile enables the first time-resolved observation of dual fluorescence for pHP phototriggers upon 267 nm excitation. The two emitting components were assigned to originate from the (1)pipi (S(3)) and (1)npi (S(1)) states, respectively. This was based on the lifetime, the spectral location, and how these varied with the type of solvent. By correlating the dynamics of the singlet decay with the triplet formation, a direct (1)npi --> (3)pipi ISC mechanism was found for these compounds with the ISC rate estimated to be approximately 5 x 10(11) s(-)(1) in both solvent systems. These photophysical processes were found to be little affected by the kind of leaving group indicating the common local pHP chromophore is largely responsible for the fluorescence and relevant deactivation processes. The triplet lifetime was found to be approximately 420 and 2130 ps for HPDP and HPA, respectively, in the mixed solvent compared to 150 and 137 ns, respectively, in neat MeCN. The solvent and leaving group dependent quenching of the triplet is believed to be associated with the pHP deprotection photochemistry and indicates that the triplet is the reactive precursor for pHP photorelease reactions for the compounds examined in this study.


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