Ultrafast excited state hydrogen atom transfer in salicylideneaniline driven by changes in aromaticity†
We investigated two important unresolved issues on excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) reactions, i.e., their driving force and the charge state of the transferred species by means of quantum chemical topology. We related changes in the aromaticity of a molecule after electron excitation to reaction dynamics in an excited state. Additionally, we found that the conveyed particle has a charge intermediate between that of a bare proton and a neutral hydrogen atom. We anticipate that the analysis presented in this communication will yield valuable insights into ESIPT and other similar photochemical reactions.