Computer simulations of the solvatochromism of betaine-30

M. Maroncelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Monte Carlo simulations of the pyridinium N-phenolate dye "betaine-30" in 12 solvents (20 solvent representations) were performed in order to explore the molecular basis of the ET(30) scale of solvent polarity. Ab initio (HF/6-31G*) and semiempirical (AM1 and INDO/S) electronic structure calculations were used to determine the geometry and charge distribution of betaine-30 in its S0 and S1 states. The solvent effect on the betaine absorption spectrum was assumed to derive from electrostatic interactions between the effective charge distributions of solvent molecules and the charge shift brought about by the S0 → S1 transition. Two models for this charge shift, one obtained from INDO/S calculations and the other an idealized two-site model, were used for the spectral calculations. Good agreement between simulated and observed ΔET shifts (ET(30) values measured relative to the nonpolar standard tetramethylsilane) was found for both charge-shift models. In water and other hydroxylic solvents, the O atom of the betaine solute was observed to form moderately strong hydrogen bonds to between one and two solvent molecules. The contribution of these specifically coordinated molecules to the ΔET shift was found to be large, (30-60%) and comparable to experimental estimates. Additional simulations of acetonitrile and methanol in equilibrium with the S1 state of betaine-30 were used to determine reorganization energies in these solvents and to decide the extent to which the solvent response to the S0 ↔ S1 transition conforms to linear response predictions. In both solvents, the spectral distributions observed in the S0 state simulations were ∼15% narrower than those in the S1 simulations, indicating only a relatively small departure from linear behavior. Reorganization energies were also estimated for a number of other solvents and compared to values reported in previous experimental and theoretical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7704-7719
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 9 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Computer simulations of the solvatochromism of betaine-30'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this