Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Can we use on-the-fly quantum simulations to connect molecular structure and sunscreen action?


The ground-up design of new molecular sunscreens, with improved photostability, absorbance and spectral coverage, stands as a challenge to fundamental chemical science. Correlating sunscreen molecular structure and function requires detailed insight into the relaxation pathways available following photoexcitation; however, the complex coupled electron/nuclear dynamics in these systems stands as a tough challenge to computational chemistry. To address this challenge, we have recently developed efficient and accurate simulation methods to model non-adiabatic dynamics of general molecular systems as a route to correlating photoinduced dynamics and potential sunscreen activity. Our approach, combining the multi-configuration time-dependent Hartree (MCTDH) method with PESs generated using machine-learning, represents a new ``on the fly'' strategy for accurate wavefunction propagation, with the potential to provide a new ``black box'' strategy for interrogating ultrafast dynamics in general photoinduced energy transport processes. Here, we illustrate our attempts to apply this methodology to study the ultrafast photochemistry of four compounds derived from mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), compounds which are believed to act as microbial sunscreens in micro-organisms such as algae. Specifically, we investigate how the choice of active vibrational space and diabatic electronic states in MCTDH strongly influences the predictions of ultrafast dynamic relaxation in representative MAAs. Our results serve to demonstrate that ``on the fly'' quantum dynamics using MCTDH is increasingly viable, but important barriers relating to coordinate choices and diabatisation remain.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 04 Dec 2018, accepted on 18 Jan 2019 and first published on 22 Jan 2019

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00228B
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2019, Accepted Manuscript

  •   Request permissions

    Can we use on-the-fly quantum simulations to connect molecular structure and sunscreen action?

    G. Richings, C. Robertson and S. Habershon, Faraday Discuss., 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00228B

Search articles by author