Is the photoinduced isomerization in retinal protonated schiff bases a single- or double-torsional process

Jaroslaw J. Szymczak, Mario Barbatti, Hans Lischka

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34 Scopus citations


Nonadiabatic photodynamical simulations are presented for the all-trans and 5-cis isomers of the hepta-3,5,7trieniminium cation (PSB4) with the goal of characterizing the types of torsional modes occurring in the cis-trans isomerization processes in retinal protonated Schiff base (RPSB), the rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin chropomhore. Steric hindrance of these processes due to environmental effects have been modeled by imposing different sets of mechanical restrictions on PSB4 and studying its response in the photodynamics. Both the mechanism toward the conical intersection and the initial phase of the hot ground state dynamics has been studied in detail. A total of 600 trajectories have been computed using a complete active space self-consistent field wave function. Careful comparison with higher level methods has been made in order to verify the accuracy of the results. The most important mechanism driving restricted PSB4 isomerization in the excited state is characterized by two concerted twist motions (bipedal and closely related to it nonrigid bipedal) from which only one torsion tends to be continued during the relaxation into the ground state. The one-bond-flip is found to be important for the trans isomer as well. The main isomerization trend is a torsion around C5C6 (equivalent to C11C12 in RPSB) in the case of the cis isomer and around C3C4 (C13C14 in RPSB) in the case of the trans isomer. The simulations show an initial 70 fs relaxation into twisted regions and give an average internal conversion time of 130-140 fs, timings that are fully compatible with the general picture described by femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopic studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11907-11918
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 29 2009


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