Altered relaxation dynamics of excited state reactions by confinement in reverse micelles probed by ultrafast fluorescence up-conversion
Chemical reactions in confined environments are important in areas as diverse as heterogenous catalysis, environmental chemistry and biochemistry, yet they are much less well understood than the equivalent reactions in either the gas phase or in free solution. The understanding of chemical reactions in solution was greatly enhanced by real time studies of model reactions, through ultrafast spectroscopy (especially when supported by molecular dynamics simulation). Here we review some of the efforts that have been made to adapt this approach to the investigation of reactions in confined media. Specifically, we review the application of ultrafast fluorescence spectroscopy to measure reaction dynamics in the nanoconfined water phase of reverse micelles, as a function of the droplet radius and the charge on the interface. Methods of measurement and modelling of the reactions are outlined. In all of the cases studied (which are focused on ultrafast intramolecular reactions) the effect of confinement was to suppress the reaction. Even in the largest micelles the result in the bulk aqueous phase was not usually recovered, suggesting an important role for specific interactions between reactant and environment, for example at the interface. There was no simple one-to-one correspondence with direct measures of the dynamics of the confined phase. Thus, understanding the effect of confinement on reaction rate appears to require not only knowledge of the dynamics of the reaction in solutions and the effect of confinement on the medium, but also of the interaction between reactant and confining medium.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoconfinement