Publications by authors named "Romain Letrun"

19 Publications

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Author Correction: Membrane protein megahertz crystallography at the European XFEL.

Nat Commun 2020 Jan 30;11(1):703. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287-5001, USA.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14436-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992783PMC
January 2020

Time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography at the European XFEL.

Nat Methods 2020 01 18;17(1):73-78. Epub 2019 Nov 18.

Physics Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

The European XFEL (EuXFEL) is a 3.4-km long X-ray source, which produces femtosecond, ultrabrilliant and spatially coherent X-ray pulses at megahertz (MHz) repetition rates. This X-ray source has been designed to enable the observation of ultrafast processes with near-atomic spatial resolution. Time-resolved crystallographic investigations on biological macromolecules belong to an important class of experiments that explore fundamental and functional structural displacements in these molecules. Due to the unusual MHz X-ray pulse structure at the EuXFEL, these experiments are challenging. Here, we demonstrate how a biological reaction can be followed on ultrafast timescales at the EuXFEL. We investigate the picosecond time range in the photocycle of photoactive yellow protein (PYP) with MHz X-ray pulse rates. We show that difference electron density maps of excellent quality can be obtained. The results connect the previously explored femtosecond PYP dynamics to timescales accessible at synchrotrons. This opens the door to a wide range of time-resolved studies at the EuXFEL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41592-019-0628-zDOI Listing
January 2020

Membrane protein megahertz crystallography at the European XFEL.

Nat Commun 2019 11 4;10(1):5021. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287-5001, USA.

The world's first superconducting megahertz repetition rate hard X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), the European XFEL, began operation in 2017, featuring a unique pulse train structure with 886 ns between pulses. With its rapid pulse rate, the European XFEL may alleviate some of the increasing demand for XFEL beamtime, particularly for membrane protein serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX), leveraging orders-of-magnitude faster data collection. Here, we report the first membrane protein megahertz SFX experiment, where we determined a 2.9 Å-resolution SFX structure of the large membrane protein complex, Photosystem I, a > 1 MDa complex containing 36 protein subunits and 381 cofactors. We address challenges to megahertz SFX for membrane protein complexes, including growth of large quantities of crystals and the large molecular and unit cell size that influence data collection and analysis. The results imply that megahertz crystallography could have an important impact on structure determination of large protein complexes with XFELs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12955-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6828683PMC
November 2019

The Single Particles, Clusters and Biomolecules and Serial Femtosecond Crystallography instrument of the European XFEL: initial installation.

J Synchrotron Radiat 2019 May 12;26(Pt 3):660-676. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

European XFEL, Holzkoppel 4, 22869 Schenefeld, Germany.

The European X-ray Free-Electron Laser (FEL) became the first operational high-repetition-rate hard X-ray FEL with first lasing in May 2017. Biological structure determination has already benefitted from the unique properties and capabilities of X-ray FELs, predominantly through the development and application of serial crystallography. The possibility of now performing such experiments at data rates more than an order of magnitude greater than previous X-ray FELs enables not only a higher rate of discovery but also new classes of experiments previously not feasible at lower data rates. One example is time-resolved experiments requiring a higher number of time steps for interpretation, or structure determination from samples with low hit rates in conventional X-ray FEL serial crystallography. Following first lasing at the European XFEL, initial commissioning and operation occurred at two scientific instruments, one of which is the Single Particles, Clusters and Biomolecules and Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SPB/SFX) instrument. This instrument provides a photon energy range, focal spot sizes and diagnostic tools necessary for structure determination of biological specimens. The instrumentation explicitly addresses serial crystallography and the developing single particle imaging method as well as other forward-scattering and diffraction techniques. This paper describes the major science cases of SPB/SFX and its initial instrumentation - in particular its optical systems, available sample delivery methods, 2D detectors, supporting optical laser systems and key diagnostic components. The present capabilities of the instrument will be reviewed and a brief outlook of its future capabilities is also described.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S1600577519003308DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6510195PMC
May 2019

MHz data collection of a microcrystalline mixture of different jack bean proteins.

Sci Data 2019 04 3;6(1):18. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstrasse 29, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

We provide a detailed description of a serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) dataset collected at the European X-ray free-electron laser facility (EuXFEL). The EuXFEL is the first high repetition rate XFEL delivering MHz X-ray pulse trains at 10 Hz. The short spacing (<1 µs) between pulses requires fast flowing microjets for sample injection and high frame rate detectors. A data set was recorded of a microcrystalline mixture of at least three different jack bean proteins (urease, concanavalin A, concanavalin B). A one megapixel Adaptive Gain Integrating Pixel Detector (AGIPD) was used which has not only a high frame rate but also a large dynamic range. This dataset is publicly available through the Coherent X-ray Imaging Data Bank (CXIDB) as a resource for algorithm development and for data analysis training for prospective XFEL users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-019-0010-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472352PMC
April 2019

Initial observations of the femtosecond timing jitter at the European XFEL.

Opt Lett 2019 Apr;44(7):1650-1653

Intense, ultrashort, and high-repetition-rate X-ray pulses, combined with a femtosecond optical laser, allow pump-probe experiments with fast data acquisition and femtosecond time resolution. However, the relative timing of the X-ray pulses and the optical laser pulses can be controlled only to a level of the intrinsic error of the instrument which, without characterization, limits the time resolution of experiments. This limitation inevitably calls for a precise determination of the relative arrival time, which can be used after measurement for sorting and tagging the experimental data to a much finer resolution than it can be controlled to. The observed root-mean-square timing jitter between the X-ray and the optical laser at the SPB/SFX instrument at European XFEL was 308 fs. This first measurement of timing jitter at the European XFEL provides an important step in realizing ultrafast experiments at this novel X-ray source. A method for determining the change in the complex refractive index of samples is also presented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.44.001650DOI Listing
April 2019

Excited-state dynamics of a molecular dyad with two orthogonally-oriented fluorophores.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2018 Dec;20(48):30219-30230

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The excited-state dynamics of a T-shaped bichromophoric molecule, consisting of two strong fluorophores, diphenyloxazole and diphenylpyrazoline, directly linked in an orthogonal geometry, was investigated. Despite the weak coupling ensured by this geometry and confirmed by the electronic absorption spectra, this dyad exhibits only weak fluorescence in both apolar and polar solvents, with fluorescence lifetimes ranging from 200 ps in CHX to 10 ps in ACN. Ultrafast spectroscopic measurements reveal that the fluorescence quenching in polar solvents is due to the population of a charge-separated state. In non-polar solvents, this process is energetically not feasible, and a quenching due to an efficient intersystem crossing (ISC) to the triplet manifold is proposed, based on quantum-chemical calculations. This process occurs via the spin-orbit charge-transfer (SOCT) ISC mechanism, which is enabled by the charge-transfer character acquired by the S1 state of the dyad upon structural relaxation and by the orthogonal arrangement of the molecular orbitals involved in the transition. The same mechanism is proposed to explain why the recombination of the charge-separated state is faster in medium than in highly polar solvents, as well as to account for the fast decay of the lowest triplet state to the ground state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8cp05356aDOI Listing
December 2018

Megahertz serial crystallography.

Authors:
Max O Wiedorn Dominik Oberthür Richard Bean Robin Schubert Nadine Werner Brian Abbey Martin Aepfelbacher Luigi Adriano Aschkan Allahgholi Nasser Al-Qudami Jakob Andreasson Steve Aplin Salah Awel Kartik Ayyer Saša Bajt Imrich Barák Sadia Bari Johan Bielecki Sabine Botha Djelloul Boukhelef Wolfgang Brehm Sandor Brockhauser Igor Cheviakov Matthew A Coleman Francisco Cruz-Mazo Cyril Danilevski Connie Darmanin R Bruce Doak Martin Domaracky Katerina Dörner Yang Du Hans Fangohr Holger Fleckenstein Matthias Frank Petra Fromme Alfonso M Gañán-Calvo Yaroslav Gevorkov Klaus Giewekemeyer Helen Mary Ginn Heinz Graafsma Rita Graceffa Dominic Greiffenberg Lars Gumprecht Peter Göttlicher Janos Hajdu Steffen Hauf Michael Heymann Susannah Holmes Daniel A Horke Mark S Hunter Siegfried Imlau Alexander Kaukher Yoonhee Kim Alexander Klyuev Juraj Knoška Bostjan Kobe Manuela Kuhn Christopher Kupitz Jochen Küpper Janine Mia Lahey-Rudolph Torsten Laurus Karoline Le Cong Romain Letrun P Lourdu Xavier Luis Maia Filipe R N C Maia Valerio Mariani Marc Messerschmidt Markus Metz Davide Mezza Thomas Michelat Grant Mills Diana C F Monteiro Andrew Morgan Kerstin Mühlig Anna Munke Astrid Münnich Julia Nette Keith A Nugent Theresa Nuguid Allen M Orville Suraj Pandey Gisel Pena Pablo Villanueva-Perez Jennifer Poehlsen Gianpietro Previtali Lars Redecke Winnie Maria Riekehr Holger Rohde Adam Round Tatiana Safenreiter Iosifina Sarrou Tokushi Sato Marius Schmidt Bernd Schmitt Robert Schönherr Joachim Schulz Jonas A Sellberg M Marvin Seibert Carolin Seuring Megan L Shelby Robert L Shoeman Marcin Sikorski Alessandro Silenzi Claudiu A Stan Xintian Shi Stephan Stern Jola Sztuk-Dambietz Janusz Szuba Aleksandra Tolstikova Martin Trebbin Ulrich Trunk Patrik Vagovic Thomas Ve Britta Weinhausen Thomas A White Krzysztof Wrona Chen Xu Oleksandr Yefanov Nadia Zatsepin Jiaguo Zhang Markus Perbandt Adrian P Mancuso Christian Betzel Henry Chapman Anton Barty

Nat Commun 2018 10 2;9(1):4025. Epub 2018 Oct 2.

Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Notkestrasse 85, 22607, Hamburg, Germany.

The new European X-ray Free-Electron Laser is the first X-ray free-electron laser capable of delivering X-ray pulses with a megahertz inter-pulse spacing, more than four orders of magnitude higher than previously possible. However, to date, it has been unclear whether it would indeed be possible to measure high-quality diffraction data at megahertz pulse repetition rates. Here, we show that high-quality structures can indeed be obtained using currently available operating conditions at the European XFEL. We present two complete data sets, one from the well-known model system lysozyme and the other from a so far unknown complex of a β-lactamase from K. pneumoniae involved in antibiotic resistance. This result opens up megahertz serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) as a tool for reliable structure determination, substrate screening and the efficient measurement of the evolution and dynamics of molecular structures using megahertz repetition rate pulses available at this new class of X-ray laser source.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06156-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6168542PMC
October 2018

Megahertz data collection from protein microcrystals at an X-ray free-electron laser.

Nat Commun 2018 08 28;9(1):3487. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstrasse 29, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) enable novel experiments because of their high peak brilliance and femtosecond pulse duration. However, non-superconducting XFELs offer repetition rates of only 10-120 Hz, placing significant demands on beam time and sample consumption. We describe serial femtosecond crystallography experiments performed at the European XFEL, the first MHz repetition rate XFEL, delivering 1.128 MHz X-ray pulse trains at 10 Hz. Given the short spacing between pulses, damage caused by shock waves launched by one XFEL pulse on sample probed by subsequent pulses is a concern. To investigate this issue, we collected data from lysozyme microcrystals, exposed to a ~15 μm XFEL beam. Under these conditions, data quality is independent of whether the first or subsequent pulses of the train were used for data collection. We also analyzed a mixture of microcrystals of jack bean proteins, from which the structure of native, magnesium-containing concanavalin A was determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05953-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6113309PMC
August 2018

Influence of the hydrogen-bond interactions on the excited-state dynamics of a push-pull azobenzene dye: the case of Methyl Orange.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2018 Mar;20(10):7254-7264

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The excited-state dynamics of the push-pull azobenzene Methyl Orange (MO) were investigated in several solvents and water/glycerol mixtures using a combination of ultrafast time-resolved fluorescence and transient absorption in both the UV-visible and the IR regions, as well as quantum chemical calculations. Optical excitation of MO in its trans form results in the population of the S ππ* state and is followed by internal conversion to the S nπ* state in ∼50 fs. The population of this state decays on the sub-picosecond timescale by both internal conversion to the trans ground state and isomerisation to the cis ground state. Finally, the cis form converts thermally to the trans form on a timescale ranging from less than 50 ms to several minutes. Significant differences depending on the hydrogen-bond donor strength of the solvents, quantified by the Kamlet Taft parameter α, were observed: compared to the other solvents, in highly protic solvents (α > 1), (i) the viscosity dependence of the S state lifetime is less pronounced, (ii) the S state lifetime is shorter by a factor of ≈1.5 for the same viscosity, (iii) the trans-to-cis photoisomerisation efficiency is smaller, and (iv) the thermal cis-to-trans isomerisation is faster by a factor of ≥10. These differences are explained in terms of hydrogen-bond interactions between the solvent and the azo nitrogen atoms of MO, which not only change the nature of the S state but also have an impact on the shape of ground- and excited-state potentials, and, thus, affect the deactivation pathways from the excited state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7cp08390dDOI Listing
March 2018

Ion Pair-π Interactions.

J Am Chem Soc 2015 Sep 20;137(34):11047-56. Epub 2015 Aug 20.

School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Geneva , CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.

We report that anion-π and cation-π interactions can occur on the same aromatic surface. Interactions of this type are referred to as ion pair-π interactions. Their existence, nature, and significance are elaborated in the context of spectral tuning, ion binding in solution, and activation of cell-penetrating peptides. The origin of spectral tuning by ion pair-π interactions is unraveled with energy-minimized excited-state structures: The solvent- and pH-independent red shift of absorption and emission of push-pull fluorophores originates from antiparallel ion pair-π attraction to their polarized excited state. In contrast, the complementary parallel ion pair-π repulsion is spectroscopically irrelevant, in part because of charge neutralization by intriguing proton and electron transfers on excited push-pull surfaces. With time-resolved fluorescence measurements, very important differences between antiparallel and parallel ion pair-π interactions are identified and quantitatively dissected from interference by aggregation and ion pair dissociation. Contributions from hydrogen bonding, proton transfer, π-π interactions, chromophore twisting, ion pairing, and self-assembly are systematically addressed and eliminated by concise structural modifications. Ion-exchange studies in solution, activation of cell-penetrating peptides in vesicles, and computational analysis all imply that the situation in the ground state is complementary to spectral tuning in the excited state; i.e., parallel rather than antiparallel ion pair-π interactions are preferred, despite repulsion from the push-pull dipole. The overall quite complete picture of ion pair-π interactions provided by these remarkably coherent yet complex results is expected to attract attention throughout the multiple disciplines of chemistry involved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.5b05593DOI Listing
September 2015

Excited state interactions between the chiral Au38L24 cluster and covalently attached porphyrin.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2015 Jun;17(22):14788-95

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva, Quai Ernest Ansermet 30, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.

A protected S-acetylthio porphyrin was synthesized and attached to the Au38(2-phenylethanethiolate)24 cluster in a ligand exchange reaction. Chiral high performance liquid chromatography of the functionalized cluster yielded enantiomeric pairs of clusters probably differing in the binding site of the porphyrin. As proven by circular dichroism, the chirality was maintained. Exciton coupling between the cluster and the chromophore is observed. Zinc can be incorporated into the porphyrin attached to the cluster, as evidenced by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, however, the reaction is slow. Quenching of the chromophore fluorescence is observed, which can be explained by energy transfer from the porphyrin to the cluster. Transient absorption spectra of Au38(2-phenylethanethiolate)24 and the functionalized cluster probe the bleach of the gold cluster due to ground state absorption and the characteristic excited state absorption signals. Zinc incorporation does not have a pronounced effect on the photophysical behaviour. Decay times are typical for the molecular behaviour of small monolayer protected gold clusters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5cp01638jDOI Listing
June 2015

Fluorescent flippers for mechanosensitive membrane probes.

J Am Chem Soc 2015 Jan 13;137(2):568-71. Epub 2015 Jan 13.

School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Chemical Biology, University of Geneva , Geneva, Switzerland.

In this report, "fluorescent flippers" are introduced to create planarizable push-pull probes with the mechanosensitivity and fluorescence lifetime needed for practical use in biology. Twisted push-pull scaffolds with large and bright dithienothiophenes and their S,S-dioxides as the first "fluorescent flippers" are shown to report on the lateral organization of lipid bilayers with quantum yields above 80% and lifetimes above 4 ns. Their planarization in liquid-ordered (Lo) and solid-ordered (So) membranes results in red shifts in excitation of up to +80 nm that can be transcribed into red shifts in emission of up to +140 nm by Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). These unique properties are compatible with multidomain imaging in giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) and cells by confocal laser scanning or fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. Controls indicate that strong push-pull macrodipoles are important, operational probes do not relocate in response to lateral membrane reorganization, and two flippers are indeed needed to "really swim," i.e., achieve high mechanosensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja5107018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4308758PMC
January 2015

Excited-state dynamics of 3-hydroxyflavone anion in alcohols.

J Phys Chem B 2015 Feb 19;119(6):2434-43. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva , 30 quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The electronic absorption spectrum of 3-hydroxyflavone (3HF) in various solvents exhibits a long-wavelength (LW) band, whose origin has been debated. The excited-state dynamics of neutral and basic solutions of 3HF in alcohols upon excitation in this LW band has been investigated using a combination of fluorescence up-conversion and transient electronic and vibrational absorption spectroscopies. The ensemble of results reveals that, in neutral solutions, LW excitation results in the population of two excited species with similar fluorescence spectra but very different lifetimes, namely 40-100 ps and 2-3 ns, depending on the solvent. In basic solutions, the relative concentrations of these species change considerably in favor of that with the short-lived excited state. On the basis of the spectroscopic data and quantum chemistry calculations, the short lifetime is attributed to the excited state of 3HF anion, whereas the long one is tentatively assigned to an excited hydrogen-bonded complex with the solvent. Excited-state intermolecular proton transfer from the solvent to the anion yielding the tautomeric form of 3HF is not operative, as the excited anion decays to the ground state via an efficient nonradiative transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp507311nDOI Listing
February 2015

Excitation Wavelength Dependence of the Dynamics of Bimolecular Photoinduced Electron Transfer Reactions.

J Phys Chem Lett 2014 May 29;5(10):1685-90. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva, 30 quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The dynamics of photoinduced electron transfer between polar acceptors and donors has been investigated in apolar solvents using femtosecond-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. It was found to be ultrafast and to continuously accelerate by varying the excitation wavelength from the maximum to the red edge of the absorption band of the acceptor, the overall difference being as large as a factor 4-5. This violation of the Kasha-Vavilov rule is explained by a correlation between the composition of the acceptor environment and its transition energy, that is, the more donors around an acceptor, the longer its absorption wavelength, and the faster the quenching. Because of preferential solvation, this dependence is already observed at low quencher concentrations. This effect, which requires quenching to be faster than the fluctuations of the environment composition, should be quite general for photoinduced charge transfer processes in low-polarity, viscous, or rigid media, such as those used in organic optoelectronic devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jz500569rDOI Listing
May 2014

Excited-state dynamics of rhodamine 6G in aqueous solution and at the dodecane/water interface.

J Phys Chem B 2014 May 6;118(19):5184-93. Epub 2014 May 6.

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva , 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, Geneva, Switzerland.

The excited-state dynamics of rhodamine 6G (R6G) has been investigated in aqueous solution using ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy and at the dodecane/water interface using the femtosecond time-resolved surface second harmonic generation (SSHG) technique. As the R6G concentration exceeds ca. 1 mM in bulk water, both R6G monomers and aggregates are excited to a different extent when using pump pulses at 500 and 530 nm. The excited-state lifetime of the monomers is shortened compared to dilute solutions because of the occurrence of excitation energy transfer to the aggregates, which themselves decay nonradiatively to the ground state with a ca. 70 ps time constant. At the dodecane/water interface, both monomers and aggregates contribute to the SSHG signal to an extent that depends on the bulk concentration, the pump and probe wavelengths, and the polarization of probe and signal beams. The excited-state lifetime of the monomers at the interface is of the order of a few picoseconds even at bulk concentrations where it is as large as several nanoseconds. This is explained by the relatively high interfacial affinity of R6G that leads to a large interfacial concentration, favoring aggregation and thus rapid excitation energy transfer from monomers to aggregates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp502058eDOI Listing
May 2014

Exciplex formation in bimolecular photoinduced electron-transfer investigated by ultrafast time-resolved infrared spectroscopy.

J Am Chem Soc 2014 Mar 26;136(10):4066-74. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva , 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The dynamics of bimolecular photoinduced electron-transfer reactions has been investigated with three donor/acceptor (D/A) pairs in tetrahydrofuran (THF) and acetonitrile (ACN) using a combination of ultrafast spectroscopic techniques, including time-resolved infrared absorption. For the D/A pairs with the highest driving force of electron transfer, all transient spectroscopic features can be unambiguously assigned to the excited reactant and the ionic products. For the pair with the lowest driving force, three additional transient infrared bands, more intense in THF than in ACN, with a time dependence that differs from those of the other bands are observed. From their frequency and solvent dependence, these bands can be assigned to an exciplex. Moreover, polarization-resolved measurements point to a relatively well-defined mutual orientation of the constituents and to a slower reorientational time compared to those of the individual reactants. Thanks to the minimal overlap of the infrared signature of all transient species in THF, a detailed reaction scheme including the relevant kinetic and thermodynamic parameters could be deduced for this pair. This analysis reveals that the formation and recombination of the ion pair occur almost exclusively via the exciplex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja500812uDOI Listing
March 2014

Ultrafast excited-state dynamics of donor-acceptor biaryls: comparison between pyridinium and pyrylium phenolates.

J Phys Chem A 2013 Dec 27;117(49):13112-26. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Geneva , 30 quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

The excited-state dynamics of two donor-acceptor biaryls that differ by the strength of the acceptor, a pyridinium or a pyrylium moiety, have been investigated using a combination of steady-state solvatochromic absorption, ultrafast fluorescence, as well as visible and infrared transient absorption spectroscopies. The negative solvatochromic behavior of pyridinium phenolate indicates that the permanent electric dipole moment experiences a decrease upon S1 ← S0 excitation, implying that the ground state possesses more zwitterionic character than the excited state. In contrast, pyrylium phenolate exhibits a weakly positive solvatochromic behavior corresponding to a small increase in the dipole moment upon excitation, implying more zwitterionic character in the excited than the ground state. Both compounds are therefore situated at different sides of the cyanine-limit structure, which has equally polar ground and excited states. Despite these differences, both molecules exhibit qualitatively similar excited-state properties. They are characterized by a very short fluorescence lifetime, increasing from about 1 to 20 ps, when varying solvent viscosity from 0.4 to 11 cP. There are, however, characteristic differences between the two compounds: The excited-state lifetimes of the pyrylium dye are shorter and also depend somewhat on polarity. The ensemble of spectroscopic data can be explained with a model where the emitting Franck-Condon excited state relaxes upon twisting around the single bond between the aryl units to a point where the excited- and ground-state surfaces are very close or intersect. After internal conversion to the ground state, the distorted molecule relaxes back to its equilibrium planar configuration, again largely dependent upon solvent viscosity. However, in this case, the kinetics for the pyrylium dye are slower than for the pyridinium dye and the polar solvent-induced acceleration is significantly stronger than in the excited state. This difference of kinetic behavior between the two compounds is a direct consequence of the change of the electronic structure from a normal to an overcritical merocyanine evidenced by steady-state spectroscopy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp409646gDOI Listing
December 2013

Photoinduced electron transfer reactions: from the elucidation of old problems in bulk solutions towards the exploration of interfaces.

Chimia (Aarau) 2011 ;65(5):350-2

University of Geneva, Department of Physical Chemistry, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet.

The activities of our research group in the field of photoinduced electron transfer reactions are discussed and illustrated by several examples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2533/chimia.2011.350DOI Listing
July 2011