Vibronic Effects in the Ultrafast Interfacial Electron Transfer of Perylene-Sensitized TiO2 Surfaces

Robson S. Oliboni, Han Yan, Hao Fan, Baxter Abraham, Joseph P. Avenoso, Elena Galoppini, Victor S. Batista, Lars Gundlach, Luis G.C. Rego

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We combine ultrafast transient absorption (TA) spectroscopy and nonadiabatic quantum dynamics simulations to describe the real-time unfold of vibronic effects on the photoabsorption of TiO2 anatase sensitized with the (perylen-9-yl)carboxylate dye (Pe-COOH/TiO2). The excited state is mapped in time and frequency by ultrafast broadband spectroscopy while atomistic quantum dynamics is used to simulate the self-consistent vibronic effects. The TA map shows the lifetime of the electronic population generated in the S1 state of the dye and the rise of the absorption D0-D1 of the cation. The theoretical analysis reveals that the electron transfer from perylene into TiO2 is complete within 20 fs, in agreement with the 12 fs experimental measurement. Because of the structural relaxation produced by the photoinduced electron transfer, the optical gap decreases by 390 meV, in agreement with the D0-D1 transition band. Furthermore, the reorganization energy estimated to be around 220 meV is mostly due to the energy shift of the HOMO level, since the electron transfer occurs in the wide-band limit with little dependence on reorganization energy modes. By assuming the Condon approximation and by making use of the mixed quantum/classical trajectories of the Pe-COOH/TiO2 system, the absorption spectrum is calculated, and the broad features of the transient absorption spectrum are correlated to excited-state nuclear reorganization effects of the adsorbate dye. The reorganization energy modes are identified by the power spectrum of the velocity autocorrelation function, which shows the occurrence of nonequilibrium modes within the range 1000-1800 cm-1 as in-plane asymmetric C-C vibrations in the perylene dye. The vibrational modes with the strongest influence on the optical gap contribute to shifting the absorption spectrum up in energy by ∼2000 cm-1. The overall agreement between theory and experiment reveals the capabilities of both methods to study vibronic effects in molecular and extended systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12599-12607
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 23 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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