Photophysics of trans-4-(dimethylamino)-4′-cyanostilbene and its use as a solvation probe

Sergei Arzhantsev, Klaas A. Zachariasse, Mark Maroncelli

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Electronic structure calculations, steady-state electronic spectroscopy, and femtosecond time-resolved emission spectroscopy are used to examine the photophysics of trans-4-(dimethylamino)-4′-cyanostilbene (DCS) and its solvent dependence. Semiempirical AM1/CI calculations suggest that an anilino TICT state is a potential candidate for the emissive state of DCS in polar solvents. But observation of large and solvent-independent absorption and emission transition moments in a number of solvents (M abs = 6.7 ±0.4 D and M em = 7.6 ± 0.8 D) rule out the involvement of any such state, which would have a vanishingly small transition moment. The absorption and steady-state emission spectra of DCS evolve in a systematic manner with solvent polarity, approximately as would be expected for a single, highly polar excited state. Attempts to fit the solvatochromism of DCS using standard dielectric continuum models are only partially successful when values of the solute dipole moments suggested by independent measurements are assumed. The shapes of the absorption and emission spectra of DCS change systematically with solvent polarity in a manner that is semiquantitatively reproduced using a coupled-state model of the spectroscopy. Kerr-gate emission measurements show that the emission dynamics of DCS down to subpicosecond times reflect only solvent relaxation, rather than any more complicated electronic state kinetics. The spectral response functions measured with DCS are well correlated to those previously reported for the solvation probe coumarin 153, indicating DCS-to be a useful alternative probe of solvation dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3454-3470
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 16 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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