Uncovering the Functional Role of Coherent Phonons during the Photoinduced Phase Transition in a Molecular Crystal

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The atomic motions that make up phonons and molecular vibrations in molecular crystals influence their photophysical and electronic properties, including polaron formation, carrier mobility, and phase transitions. Discriminating between spectator and driving motions is a significant challenge hindering optimization. Unlocking this information and developing fine-tuned controls over actively participating phonon modes would not only lead to a stronger understanding of photochemistry but also provide a significant new tool in controlling solid state chemistry. We present a strategy using rationally designed double pulses to unveil the unique function of specific excited state phonon modes. Using ultrafast spectroscopy, we identified 50 and 90 cm-1 phonons involved in modulating the photoinduced spin-Peierls melting of potassium tetracyanoquinodimethane crystals. We show that the 50 cm-1 phonon specifically corresponds to the coherent nuclear wavepacket involved in the charge transfer component of the overall spin-Peierls phase melting process, while the 90 cm-1 phonon facilitates the phase transition component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7502-7509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 17 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported through funding by the U.S. Department of Energy, DE-SC0018203. C.C.R. and R.R.F. thank Prof. Aaron S. Rury at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) for many helpful discussions that helped advance this research. C.C.R. and R.R.F. also thank Kajari Bera and Siu-Yi Kwang at the University of Minnesota for helpful discussions that improved the quality of this study.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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