Probing deactivation pathways of DNA nucleobases by two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy: first principles simulations†
The SOS//QM/MM [Rivalta et al., Int. J. Quant. Chem., 2014, 114, 85] method consists of an arsenal of computational tools allowing accurate simulation of one-dimensional (1D) and bi-dimensional (2D) electronic spectra of monomeric and dimeric systems with unprecedented details and accuracy. Prominent features like doubly excited local and excimer states, accessible in multi-photon processes, as well as charge-transfer states arise naturally through the fully quantum-mechanical description of the aggregates. In this contribution the SOS//QM/MM approach is extended to simulate time-resolved 2D spectra that can be used to characterize ultrafast excited state relaxation dynamics with atomistic details. We demonstrate how critical structures on the excited state potential energy surface, obtained through state-of-the-art quantum chemical computations, can be used as snapshots of the excited state relaxation dynamics to generate spectral fingerprints for different de-excitation channels. The approach is based on high-level multi-configurational wavefunction methods combined with non-linear response theory and incorporates the effects of the solvent/environment through hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) techniques. Specifically, the protocol makes use of the second-order Perturbation Theory (CASPT2) on top of Complete Active Space Self Consistent Field (CASSCF) strategy to compute the high-lying excited states that can be accessed in different 2D experimental setups. As an example, the photophysics of the stacked adenine–adenine dimer in a double-stranded DNA is modeled through 2D near-ultraviolet (NUV) spectroscopy.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Temporally and Spatially Resolved Molecular Science