Journal article

Photochemistry of 1- and 2-Naphthols and their Water Clusters: The Role of 1ππ*(La) Mediated Hydrogen Transfer to Carbon Atoms

The computational analysis of isomer- and conformer- dependent photochemistry of 1- and 2-naphthols and their microsolvated water clusters is motivated by their very different excited state reactivity. We present evidence that 1- and 2-naphthol follow distinct excited state deactivation pathways. The deactivation of 2-naphthols, 2-naphthol water clusters as well as of the anti conformer of 1-naphthol is mediated by the optically dark 1πσ* state. The dynamics on the 1πσ* surface leads to the homolytic cleavage of the OH bond. On the contrary, the excited state deactivation of syn 1-naphthol and 1-naphthol water clusters follows an uncommon reaction pathway. Upon excitation to the bright 1ππ*(La) state, a highly specific excited state hydrogen transfer (ESHT) to carbon atoms C8 and C5 takes place, yielding 1,8- and 1,5-naphthoquinone methides. The ESHT pathway arises from the intrinsic electronic properties of the 1ππ*(La) state of 1-naphthols.


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