Excited state nonadiabatic dynamics of bare and hydrated anionic gold clusters Au3−[H2O]n (n = 0–2)
We present a joint theoretical and experimental study of excited state dynamics in pure and hydrated anionic gold clusters Au3−[H2O]n (n = 0–2). We employ mixed quantum-classical dynamics combined with femtosecond time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy in order to investigate the influence of hydration on excited state lifetimes and photo-dissociation dynamics. A gradual decrease of the excited state lifetime with the number of adsorbed water molecules as well as gold cluster fragmentation quenching by two or more water molecules are observed both in experiment and in simulations. Non-radiative relaxation and dissociation in excited states are found to be responsible for the excited state population depletion. Time constants of these two processes strongly depend on the number of water molecules leading to the possibility to modulate excited state dynamics and fragmentation of the anionic cluster by adsorption of water molecules.