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Insights into the Complex Photophysics and Photochemistry of the Simplest Nitroaromatic Compound: A CASPT2//CASSCF Study on Nitrobenzene



Insights into the Complex Photophysics and Photochemistry of the Simplest Nitroaromatic Compound: A CASPT2//CASSCF Study on Nitrobenzene



Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 13(6): 2777-2788



Nitrobenzene is the simplest nitroaromatic compound and yet is characterized by a challenging and rich photophysics and photochemistry. In the present contribution, the main decay paths undertaken by the system after UV absorption from both the brightest 1(Laππ*) and the lowest 1(nAπ*) singlet excited states have been characterized by means of CASPT2//CASSCF computations. The obtained results match with the main photophysical properties experimentally reported: the lack of fluorescence and phosphorescence emission is justified by the presence of accessible conical intersections and intersystem crossing regions between, respectively, the 1(nAπ*) and 3(nAπ*) states and the ground state, while the high triplet quantum yield is attributable to the strong coupling between the 1(nAπ*) and 3Oπ*) states along the main decay path of the former. Two not previously reported singlet-triplet crossing regions, termed (T1/S0)stc-NO and (T1/S0)stc-ep, have been here documented, from which the ground state can decay toward NO and phenoxy radical production and toward the formation of an epoxide ring structure, respectively. A possible mechanism leading to the photoisomerization of the nitro into the nitrite group, believed to be a key step in the photodegradation of nitrobenzene, has been proposed, based on the geometrical deformation recorded along the decay path leading from the 1(nAπ*) state back to the original ground state through a conical intersection characterized by a significant shortening of the carbon-nitrogen bond.

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Accession: 059866568

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PMID: 28437102

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.6b01149


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