Fluorescence dynamics of 4'-N,N-diethylamino-3-hydroxyflavone (DEAHF) and its methoxy derivative (DEAMF) in various room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) have been studied mainly by an optical Kerr gate method. DEAMF showed a single band fluorescence whose peak shifted with time by the solvation dynamics. The averaged solvation time determined by the fluorescence peak shift was proportional to the viscosity of the solvent except for tetradecyltrihexylphosphonium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide. The solvation times were consistent with reported values determined with different probe molecules. DEAHF showed dual fluorescence due to the normal and tautomer forms produced by the excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT), and the relative intensities were dependent on the time and the solvent cation or anion species. By using the information of the fluorescence spectrum of DEAMF, the fluorescence spectrum of DEAHF at each delay time after the photoexcitation was decomposed into the normal and the tautomer fluorescence components, respectively. The normal component showed a very fast decay simulated by a biexponential function (2-3 and 20-30 ps) with an additional slower decay component. The tautomer component showed a rise with the time constants corresponding to the faster decay of the normal form with an additional instantaneous rise. The faster dynamics of the normal and tautomer population changes were assigned to the ESIPT process, while the slower decay of the fluorescence was attributed to the population decay from the excited state through the radiative and nonradiative processes. The average ESIPT time was much faster than the averaged solvation time of RTILs. Basically, the ESIPT kinetics in RTILs is similar to those in conventional liquid solvents like acetonitrile (Chou et al. J. Phys. Chem. A 2005, 109, 3777). The faster ESIPT is interpreted in terms of the activation barrierless process from the Franck-Condon state before the solvation of the normal state in the electronic excited state. With the advance of the solvation in the excited state, the normal form becomes relatively more stable than the tautomer form, which makes the ESIPT become an activation process.
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