A computational study of the vibrationally-resolved electronic circular dichroism spectra of single-chain transoid and cisoid oligothiophenes in chiral conformations†
We simulate the vibronic profile of the electronic circular dichroism (ECD) spectra of oligothiophenes in cisoid and transoid chiral arrangements. We consider oligomers of different lengths, from two to fifteen units, and investigate extensively how the ECD spectral shapes depend on the inter-ring torsions. In general, the molecular structures we consider are not stationary points of the ground state potential energy surface. Therefore, in order to perform vibronic calculations, we present a new computational protocol able to define reduced-dimensionality models where the effect of the off-equilibrium modes is removed. This is done adopting a description of the vibrational motions in curvilinear internal coordinates, and vertical harmonic models coupled with an iterative application of projectors to define energy Hessians, and therefore effective normal modes, in the space complementary to the one of the off-equilibrium coordinates. Although we consider both Franck–Condon and Herzberg–Teller contributions, the results show that transoid twisted ribbons always give rise to monosignated ECD spectra, while bi-signated and multi-signated spectra are expected for cisoid helices. These findings are explained on the basis of the different transition strengths of the lowest electronic states imparted by the different spatial arrangement, that is almost linear for transoid structures and more globular for cisoid ones. We predicted the chiroptical response of a large number of possible molecular arrangements. These data are employed to critically discuss the experimental ECD of polythiophenes in different experimental conditions, forming either aggregates or host–guest complexes. The method here proposed to perform vibronic calculations in reduced-dimensionality models is of general applicability and its potential interest goes beyond the practical application presented here.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2018 PCCP HOT Articles