Solvent-Dependent Structural Dynamics in the Ultrafast Photodissociation Reaction of Triiodide Observed with Time-Resolved X-ray Solution Scattering


Resolving the structural dynamics of bond breaking, bond formation, and solvation is required for a deeper understanding of solution-phase chemical reactions. In this work, we investigate the photodissociation of triiodide in four solvents using femtosecond time-resolved X-ray solution scattering following 400 nm photoexcitation. Structural analysis of the scattering data resolves the solvent-dependent structural evolution during the bond cleavage, internal rearrangements, solvent-cage escape, and bond reformation in real time. The nature and structure of the reaction intermediates during the recombination are determined, elucidating the full mechanism of photodissociation and recombination on ultrafast time scales. We resolve the structure of the precursor state for recombination as a geminate pair. Further, we determine the size of the solvent cages from the refined structures of the radical pair. The observed structural dynamics present a comprehensive picture of the solvent influence on structure and dynamics of dissociation reactions.

Journal of the American Chemical Society
Jochen Hub
Jochen Hub
Professor of Computational Biophysics