How the methyl group position influences the ultrafast deactivation in aromatic radicals†
Excited xylyl (methyl–benzyl) radical isomers have been studied by femtosecond time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Depending on the substitution we find different deactivation channels after excitation into the D3(2A′′) state (310 nm, 4 eV). While the ortho and para isomer exhibit deactivation rates similar to the benzyl radical, meta-xylyl sticks out and depletes twice as fast into the vibrationally hot ground state. We found that a ring deformation mode rather than the methyl pseudorotation enables access to a conical intersection, which is responsible for the faster deactivation. Transitions in the photoelectron spectrum can be assigned to several Rydberg series with mostly d angular momentum components. Absorption of two 4 eV photons triggers hydrogen loss reactions on a femtosecond timescale.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2018 PCCP HOT Articles