Tuning Molecular Vibrational Energy Flow within an Aromatic Scaffold via Anharmonic Coupling

Andrew J. Schmitz, Hari Datt Pandey, Farzaneh Chalyavi, Tianjiao Shi, Edward E. Fenlon, Scott H. Brewer, David M. Leitner, Matthew J. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


From guiding chemical reactivity in synthesis or protein folding to the design of energy diodes, intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution harnesses the power to influence the underlying fundamental principles of chemistry. To evaluate the ability to steer these processes, the mechanism and time scales of intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution through aromatic molecular scaffolds have been assessed by utilizing two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy. 2D IR cross peaks reveal energy relaxation through an aromatic scaffold from the azido- to the cyano-vibrational reporters in para-azidobenzonitrile (PAB) and para-(azidomethyl)benzonitrile (PAMB) prior to energy relaxation into the solvent. The rates of energy transfer are modulated by Fermi resonances, which are apparent by the coupling cross peaks identified within the 2D IR spectrum. Theoretical vibrational mode analysis allowed the determination of the origins of the energy flow, the transfer pathway, and a direct comparison of the associated transfer rates, which were in good agreement with the experimental results. Large variations in energy-transfer rates, approximately 1.9 ps for PAB and 23 ps for PAMB, illustrate the importance of strong anharmonic coupling, i.e., Fermi resonance, on the transfer pathways. In particular, vibrational energy rectification is altered by Fermi resonances of the cyano- and azido-modes allowing control of the propensity for energy flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10571-10581
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 12 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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