The excited-state intramolecular hydrogen transfer (ESIHT) of 2-(2′-hydroxyphenyl) benzothiazole (HBT) has been investigated in a series of nonpolar, polar aprotic, and polar protic solvents. A variety of state-of-the-art experimental methods were employed, including femto- and nanosecond transient absorption and fluorescence upconversion spectroscopy with broadband capabilities. We show that the dynamics and mechanism of ESIHT of the singlet excited HBT are strongly solvent-dependent. In nonpolar solvents, the data demonstrate that HBT molecules adopt a closed form stabilized by O-H⋯N chelated hydrogen bonds with no twisting angle, and the photoinduced H transfer occurs within 120 fs, leading to the formation of a keto tautomer. In polar solvents, owing to dipole-dipole cross talk and hydrogen bonding interactions, the H transfer process is followed by ultrafast nonradiative deactivation channels, including ultrafast internal conversion (IC) and intersystem crossing (ISC). This is likely to be driven by the twisting motion around the C-C bond between the hydroxyphenyl and thiazole moieties, facilitating the IC back to the enol ground state or to the keto triplet state. In addition, our femtosecond time-resolved fluorescence experiments indicate, for the first time, that the lifetime of the enol form in ACN is approximately 280 fs. This observation indicates that the solvent plays a crucial role in breaking the H bond and deactivating the excited state of the HBT. Interestingly, the broadband transient absorption and fluorescence up-conversion data clearly demonstrate that the intermolecular proton transfer from the excited HBT to the DMSO solvent is about 190 fs, forming the HBT anion excited state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry