Dynamical mechanism of charge separation by photoexcited generation of proton–electron pairs in organic molecular systems. A nonadiabatic electron wavepacket dynamics study
In this perspective article, we review, along with presenting new results, a series of our theoretical analyses on the excited-state mechanism of charge separation (proton-electron pair creation) relevant to the photoinduced water-splitting reaction (2H 2 O ? 4H + + 4e À + O 2 ) in organic and biological systems, which quite often includes Mn clusters in various molecular configurations. The present mechanism is conceived to be universal in the triggering process of the photoexcited water
... excited water splitting dynamics. In other words, any Mn-based catalytic charge separation is quite likely to be initiated according to this mechanism. As computationally tractable yet realistic models, we examine a series of systems generally expressed as X-Mn-OH 2 Á Á ÁA, where X = (OH, Ca(OH) 3 ) and A = (N-methylformamidine, guanidine, imidazole or ammonia cluster) in terms of the theory of nonadiabatic electron wavepacket dynamics. We first find both an electron and a proton are simultaneously transferred to the acceptors through conical intersections upon photoexcitation. In this mechanism, the electron takes different pathways from that of the proton and reaches the densely lying Rydberg-like states of the acceptors in the end, thereby inducing charge separation. Therefore the presence of the Rydberg-like diffused unoccupied states as an electron acceptor is critical for this reaction to proceed. We also have found another crucial nonadiabatic process that deteriorates the efficiency of charge separation by rendering the created pair of proton and electron back to the originally donor site through the states of d-d band originated from Mn atom. Repetition of this process gradually annihilates the created pair of proton and electron in a way different from the usual charge recombination process. We address this dynamics by means of our proposed path-branching representation. The dynamical roles of a doped Ca atom are also uncovered, which are relevant to controlling the pathways of electron flow and moreover to reduction of the annihilation dynamics of proton-electron pair.