Ultrafast processes: coordination chemistry and quantum theory
Coordination compounds, characterized by fascinating and tunable electronic properties, are capable of binding easily to proteins, polymers, wires and DNA. Upon irradiation, these molecular systems develop functions finding applications in solar cells, photocatalysis, luminescent and conformational probes, electron transfer triggers and diagnostic or therapeutic tools. The control of these functions is activated by the light wavelength, the metal/ligand cooperation and the environment within the first picoseconds (ps). After a brief summary of the theoretical background, this perspective reviews case studies, from 1st row to 3rd row transition metal complexes, that illustrate how spin–orbit, vibronic coupling and quantum effects drive the photophysics of this class of molecules at the early stage of the photoinduced elementary processes within the fs–ps time scale range.