Structural isomerism of [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ has been studied experimentally, mostly concerning the symmetry of the Au9 core. Recently, the C4 isomer of [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ has been shown to exist in solution phase while the D2h isomer is present in the solid state [Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56, 8319-8325]. In this work, geometric, electronic, and optical properties of C4 [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ are investigated by using the combined second-order density-functional tight-binding (DFTB2) method and time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations with spin-orbit coupling. Additionally, the excited-state relaxation dynamics of the [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ cluster in dichloromethane and methanol solutions are studied using femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ is optically pumped to different excited states by using 432, 532, and 603 nm light. For all three pump wavelengths, the photoexcitation event induces an excited-state absorption (ESA) band centered at 600 nm with decay time constants of 2.0 and 45 ps, which are attributed to intersystem crossing and nonradiative relaxation of [Au9(PPh3)8]3+, respectively. On the other hand, optical pumping of [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ using 432 nm light gives rise to an additional ESA band at 900 nm. This band exhibits fast relaxation through internal conversion with a time constant of ∼0.3 ps. Our combined computational and experimental study reveals that the excitation wavelength-dependent relaxation dynamics of the [Au9(PPh3)8]3+ cluster are related to the different electron densities of the excited states of [Au9(PPh3)8]3+, consistent with it possessing molecular-like electronic states.
- structural isomerism
- transient absorption
- time-dependent density functional theory
- Electron density differences