1-Nitropyrene (1NPy) is the most abundant nitropolycyclic aromatic contaminant encountered in diesel exhausts. Understanding its photochemistry is important because of its carcinogenic and mutagenic properties, and potential phototransformations into biologically active products. We have studied the photophysics and photochemistry of 1NPy in solvents that could mimic the microenvironments in which it can be found in the atmospheric aerosol, using nanosecond laser flash photolysis, and conventional absorption and fluorescence techniques. Significant interactions between 1NPy and solvent molecules are demonstrated from the changes in the magnitude of the molar absorption coefficient, bandwidth at half-peak, oscillator strengths, absorption maxima, Stokes shifts, and fluorescence yield. The latter are very low (10 (-4)), increasing slightly with solvent polarity. Low temperature phosphorescence and room temperature transient absorption spectra demonstrate the presence of a low energy (3)(pi,pi*) triplet state, which decays with rate constants on the order of 10 (4)-10 (5) s (-1). This state is effectively quenched by known triplet quenchers at diffusion control rates. Intersystem crossing yields of 0.40-0.60 were determined. A long-lived absorption, which grows within the laser pulse, and simultaneously with the triplet state, presents a maximum absorption in the wavelength region of 420-440 nm. Its initial yield and lifetime depend on the solvent polarity. This species is assigned to the pyrenoxy radical that decays following a pseudo-first-order process by abstracting a hydrogen atom from the solvent to form one the major photoproducts, 1-hydroxypyrene. The (3)(pi,pi*) state reacts readily ( k approximately 10 (7)-10 (9) M (-1) s (-1)) with substances with hydrogen donor abilities encountered in the aerosol, forming a protonated radical that presents an absorption band with maximum at 420 nm.
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