Short-wavelength probes in time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy: an extended view of the excited state dynamics in acetylacetone
Femtosecond pulses of light in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectral region permit extended observation of non-adiabatic dynamics in gas-phase molecules. When used as a probe in time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy, such pulses project deeply into the ionization continuum and allow the evolution of excited state population to be monitored across multiple potential energy surfaces. When compared with longer-wavelength probes, this often provides a more complete view along the reaction coordinate(s) connecting photoreactants to photoproducts. Here we report the use of 160 nm VUV light to interrogate the excited state dynamics operating in acetylacetone following 267 nm excitation. Multiple non-adiabatic processes (internal conversion and intersystem crossing) were observed on timescales ranging from a few femtoseconds to hundreds of picoseconds. Our quantitative results are in excellent agreement with earlier studies that individually sampled smaller sub-sections of the total reaction coordinate. Furthermore, we also observe additional dynamical signatures not previously reported elsewhere. Overall, our findings provide a good illustration of the need to use short-wavelength VUV probes to obtain the most comprehensive picture possible in photoionization-based studies of photochemical dynamics.