Monitoring molecular vibronic coherences in a bichromophoric molecule by ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy†
The role of quantum-mechanical coherences in the elementary photophysics of functional optoelectronic molecular materials is currently under active study. Designing and controlling stable coherences arising from concerted vibronic dynamics in organic chromophores is the key for numerous applications. Here, we present fundamental insight into the energy transfer properties of a rigid synthetic heterodimer that has been experimentally engineered to study coherences. Quantum non-adiabatic excited state simulations are used to compute X-ray Raman signals, which are able to sensitively monitor the coherence evolution. Our results verify their vibronic nature, that survives multiple conical intersection passages for several hundred femtoseconds at room temperature. Despite the contributions of highly heterogeneous evolution pathways, the coherences are unambiguously visualized by the experimentally accessible X-ray signals. They offer direct information on the dynamics of electronic and structural degrees of freedom, paving the way for detailed coherence measurements in functional organic materials.