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Excitation energy transport in DNA modelled by multi-chromophoric field-induced surface hopping
(2020)

Absorption of ultraviolet light is known as a major source of carcinogenic mutations of DNA. The underlying processes of excitation energy dissipation are yet not fully understood. In this work we provide a new and generally applicable route for studying the excitation energy transport in multi-chromophoric complexes at an atomistic level. The surface-hopping approach in the frame of the extended Frenkel exciton model combined with QM/MM techniques allowed us to simulate the photodynamics of the alternating (dAdT)10 : (dAdT)10 double-stranded DNA. In accordance with recent experiments, we find that the excited state decay is multiexponential, involving a long and a short component which are due to two distinct mechanisms: formation of long-lived delocalized excitonic and charge transfer states vs. ultrafast decaying localized states resembling those of the bare nucleobases. Our simulations explain all stages of the ultrafast photodynamics including initial photoexcitation, dynamical evolution out of the Franck-Condon region, excimer formation and nonradiative relaxation to the ground state.

The reductive coupling of an NHC-stabilized aryldibromoborane yields a mixture of trans- and cis-diborenes in which the aryl groups are coplanar with the diborene core. Under dilute reduction conditions two diastereomers of a borirane-borane intermediate are isolated, which upon further reduction give rise to the aforementioned diborene mixture. DFT calculations suggest a mechanism proceeding via nucleophilic attack of a dicoordinate borylene intermediate on the aryl ring and subsequent intramolecular B-B bond formation.

A sequential quadratic Hamiltonian (SQH) scheme for solving different classes of non-smooth and non-convex PDE optimal control problems is investigated considering seven different benchmark problems with increasing difficulty. These problems include linear and nonlinear PDEs with linear and bilinear control mechanisms, non-convex and discontinuous costs of the controls, L\(^1\) tracking terms, and the case of state constraints.
The SQH method is based on the characterisation of optimality of PDE optimal control problems by the Pontryagin's maximum principle (PMP). For each problem, a theoretical discussion of the PMP optimality condition is given and results of numerical experiments are presented that demonstrate the large range of applicability of the SQH scheme.

For the rational design of new fluorophores, reliable predictions of fluorescence quantum yields from first principles would be of great help. However, efficient computational approaches for predicting transition rates usually assume that the vibrational structure is harmonic. While the harmonic approximation has been used successfully to predict vibrationally resolved spectra and radiative rates, its reliability for non-radiative rates is much more questionable. Since non-adiabatic transitions convert large amounts of electronic energy into vibrational energy, the highly excited final vibrational states deviate greatly from harmonic oscillator eigenfunctions. We employ a time-dependent formalism to compute radiative and non-radiative rates for transitions and study the dependence on model parameters. For several coumarin dyes we compare different adiabatic and vertical harmonic models (AS, ASF, AH, VG, VGF, VH), in order to dissect the
importance of displacements, frequency changes and Duschinsky rotations. In addition we analyze the effect of different broadening functions (Gaussian, Lorentzian or Voigt). Moreover, to assess the qualitative influence of anharmonicity on the internal conversion rate, we develop a simplified anharmonic model. We adress the reliability of these models considering the potential errors introduced by the harmonic approximation and the phenomenological width of the broadening function.

The multistate metadynamics for automatic exploration of conical intersection seams and systematic location of minimum energy crossing points in molecular systems and its implementation into the software package metaFALCON is presented. Based on a locally modified energy gap between two Born–Oppenheimer electronic states as a collective variable, multistate metadynamics trajectories are driven toward an intersection point starting from an arbitrary ground state geometry and are subsequently forced to explore the conical intersection seam landscape. For this purpose, an additional collective variable capable of distinguishing structures within the seam needs to be defined and an additional bias is introduced into the off-diagonal elements of an extended (multistate) electronic Hamiltonian. We demonstrate the performance of the algorithm on the examples of the 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and 9H-adenine molecules, where multiple minimum energy crossing points could be systematically located using the Wiener number or Cremer–Pople parameters as collective variables. Finally, with the example of 9H-adenine, we show that the multistate metadynamics potential can be used to obtain a global picture of a conical intersection seam. Our method can be straightforwardly connected with any ab initio or semiempirical electronic structure theory that provides energies and gradients of the respective electronic states and can serve for systematic elucidation of the role of conical intersections in the photophysics and photochemistry of complex molecular systems, thus complementing nonadiabatic dynamics simulations.

Comparison of moving and fixed basis sets for nonadiabatic quantum dynamics at conical intersections
(2020)

We assess the performance of two different types of basis sets for nonadiabatic quantum dynamics at conical intersections. The basis sets of both types are generated using Ehrenfest trajectories of nuclear coherent states. These trajectories can either serve as a moving (time-dependent) basis or be employed to sample a fixed (time-independent) basis. We demonstrate on the example of two-state two-dimensional and three-state five-dimensional models that both basis set types can yield highly accurate results for population transfer at intersections, as compared with reference quantum dynamics. The details of wave packet evolutions are discussed for the case of the two-dimensional model. The fixed basis is found to be superior to the moving one in reproducing nonlocal spreading and maintaining correct shape of the wave packet upon time evolution. Moreover, for the models considered, the fixed basis set outperforms the moving one in terms of computational efficiency.

Comparison of moving and fixed basis sets for nonadiabatic quantum dynamics at conical intersections
(2020)

We assess the performance of two different types of basis sets for nonadiabatic quantum dynamics at conical intersections. The basis sets of both types are generated using Ehrenfest trajectories of nuclear coherent states. These trajectories can either serve as a moving (time-dependent) basis or be employed to sample a fixed (time-independent) basis. We demonstrate on the example of two-state two-dimensional and three-state five-dimensional models that both basis set types can yield highly accurate results for population transfer at intersections, as compared with reference quantum dynamics. The details of wave packet evolutions are discussed for the case of the two-dimensional model. The fixed basis is found to be superior to the moving one in reproducing true nonlocal spreading and maintaining correct shape of the wave packet upon time evolution. Moreover, for the models considered, the fixed basis set outperforms the moving one in terms of computational efficiency.

Collective Response in DNA-Stabilized Silver Cluster Assemblies from First-Principles Simulations
(2019)

We investigate fluorescence resonant energy transfer and concurrent electron dynamics in a pair of DNA-stabilized silver clusters. For this purpose we introduce a methodology for the simulation of collective optoelectronic properties of coupled molecular aggregates starting from first-principles quantum chemistry, which can be further applied to a broad range of coupled molecular systems to study their electro-optical response. Our simulations reveal the existence of low-energy coupled excitonic states, which enable ultrafast energy transport between subunits, and give insight into the origin of the fluorescence signal in coupled DNA-stabilized silver clusters, which have been recently experimentally detected. Hence, we demonstrate the possibility of constructing ultrasmall energy transmission lines and optical converters based on these hybrid molecular systems.

The photophysics of a molecular triad consisting of a BODIPY dye and two pyrene chromophores attached in 2-position are investigated by steady state and fs-time resolved transient absorption spectroscopy as well as by field induced surface hopping (FISH) simulations. While the steady state measurements indicate moderate chromophore interactions within the triad, the time resolved measurements show upon pyrene excitation a delocalised excited state which localises onto the BODIPY chromophore with a time constant of 0.12 ps. This could either be interpreted as an internal conversion process within the excitonically coupled chromophores or as an energy transfer from the pyrenes to the BODIPY dye. The analysis of FISH-trajectories reveals an oscillatory behaviour where the excitation hops between the pyrene units and the BODIPY dye several times until finally they become localised on the BODIPY chromophore within 100 fs. This is accompanied by an ultrafast nonradiative relaxation within the excitonic manifold mediated by the nonadiabatic coupling. Averaging over an ensemble of trajectories allowed us to simulate the electronic state population dynamics and determine the time constants for the nonradiative transitions that mediate the ultrafast energy transfer and exciton localisation on BODIPY.

Excitons in the molecular aggregates of chromophores are key participants in important processes such as photosynthesis or the functioning of organic photovoltaic devices. Therefore, the exploration of exciton dynamics is crucial. Here we report on exciton localization during excited-state dynamics of the recently synthesized tetracene trimer [Liu et al., Org. Lett., 2017, 19, 580]. We employ the surface hopping approach to nonadiabatic molecular dynamics in conjunction with the long-range corrected time-dependent density functional tight binding (LC-TDDFTB) method [Humeniuk and Mitrić, Comput. Phys. Commun., 2017, 221, 174]. Utilizing a set of descriptors based on the transition density matrix, we perform comprehensive analysis of exciton dynamics. The obtained results reveal an ultrafast exciton localization to a single tetracene unit of the trimer during excited-state dynamics, along with exciton transfer between units.