Due to its numerous applications, triplet formation and resulting phosphorescence remain a frontier area of research for over eight decades. Facile intersystem crossing (ISC) is the primary requirement for triplet formation and observation of phosphorescence. The incorporation of a heavy atom in molecules is one of the common approaches employed to facilitate ISC. A detailed study of the excited state dynamics that governs ISC is necessary to understand the mechanism of heavy atom effect (HAE). Incorporation of iodine at the 3 position of coumarin-1 reduces fluorescence quantum yield (ϕf) drastically as expected, whereas bromine substitution at the same position increased the ϕf. Such a contrasting effect of the two heavy atoms suggests that there are other features yet to be discovered to fully understand the HAE. Detailed steady state and femtosecond transient absorption studies along with theoretical calculations suggest that the C3-X (X = Br, I) bond vibration plays an important role in the ISC process. The study reveals that while in the case of the iodo-derivative there is no energy barrier in the singlet triplet crossing path, there is a barrier in the case of the bromo-derivative, which slows the ISC process. Such an unexpected phenomenon is not limited to halocoumarins as this rationalizes the photobehavior of 1-bromo-/iodo-substituted naphthalenes as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry