On-off-on Control of Molecular Inversion Symmetry via Multi-stage Protonation: Elucidating Vibronic Laporte Rule
Stark, Charles W.
Young, David C.
Gryko, Daniel T.
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The Laporte rule dictates that one- and two-photon absorption spectra of inversion-symmetric molecules should display alternatively forbidden electronic transitions; however, for organic fluorophores, drawing clear distinction between the symmetric- and non-inversion symmetric two-photon spectra is often obscured due to prevalent vibronic interactions. We take advantage of consecutive single- and double-protonation to break and then reconstitute inversion symmetry in a nominally symmetric diketopyrrolopyrrole, causing large changes in two-photon absorption. By performing detailed one- and two-photon titration experiments, with supporting quantum-chemical model calculations, we explain how certain low-frequency vibrational modes may lead to apparent deviations from the strict Laporte rule. As a result, the system may be indeed considered as an on-off-on inversion symmetry switch, opening new avenues for two-photon sensing applications.
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