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Photophysics of Anionic Bis(4H‐imidazolato)CuI Complexes

Homoleptic CuI 4H-imidazolate complexes show a remarkably broad and intense absorption spectrum ranging from the UV to NIR. The excited state decay pathways of four complexes selected for their electron-withdrawing and steric properties were studied by fs transient absorption spectroscopy and spectro-electrochemistry. A model-free 2D correlation approach was applied for data evaluation.


In this paper, the photophysical behavior of four panchromatically absorbing, homoleptic bis(4H-imidazolato)CuI complexes, with a systematic variation in the electron-withdrawing properties of the imidazolate ligand, were studied by wavelength-dependent time-resolved femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. Excitation at 400, 480, and 630 nm populates metal-to-ligand charge transfer, intraligand charge transfer, and mixed-character singlet states. The pump wavelength-dependent transient absorption data were analyzed by a recently established 2D correlation approach. Data analysis revealed that all excitation conditions yield similar excited-state dynamics. Key to the excited-state relaxation is fast, sub-picosecond pseudo-Jahn-Teller distortion, which is accompanied by the relocalization of electron density onto a single ligand from the initially delocalized state at Franck-Condon geometry. Subsequent intersystem crossing to the triplet manifold is followed by a sub-100 ps decay to the ground state. The fast, nonradiative decay is rationalized by the low triplet-state energy as found by DFT calculations, which suggest perspective treatment at the strong coupling limit of the energy gap law.

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