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Mapping Excited-State Dynamics by Coherent Control of a Dendrimer’s Photoemission Efficiency

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Science  09 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5950, pp. 263-267
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176524

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Abstract

Adaptive laser pulse shaping has enabled impressive control over photophysical processes in complex molecules. However, the optimal pulse shape that emerges rarely offers straightforward insight into the excited-state properties being manipulated. We have shown that the emission quantum yield of a donor-acceptor macromolecule (a phenylene ethynylene dendrimer tethered to perylene) can be enhanced by 15% through iterative phase modulation of the excitation pulse. Furthermore, by analyzing the pulse optimization process and optimal pulse features, we successfully isolated the dominant elements underlying the control mechanism. We demonstrated that a step function in the spectral phase directs the postexcitation dynamics of the donor moiety, thus characterizing the coherent nature of the donor excited state. An accompanying pump-probe experiment implicates a 2+1 photon control pathway, in which the optimal pulse promotes a delayed excitation to a second excited state through favorable quantum interference.

  • * Present address: Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104–6323, USA.

  • On leave from Raja Ramanna. Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore, India.

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