Photophysics of eumelanin: Ab initio studies on the electronic spectroscopy and photochemistry of 5,6-dihydroxyindole

Andrzej L. Sobolewski, Wolfgang Domcke

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62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Excited-state reaction paths and energy profiles of 5,6-dihydroxy-indole (DHI), one of the elementary building blocks of eumelanin, have been determined with the approximated singles-and-doubles coupled-cluster (CC2) method. 6-Hydroxy-4-dihydro-indol-5-one (HHI) is identified as a photochrome species, which is formed via nonadiabatic hydrogen migration from the dangling OH group of DHI to the neighboring carbon atom of the six-membered ring. It is shown that HHI is a typical excited-state hydrogen-transfer (ESIHT) system. HHI absorbs strongly in the visible range of the spectrum. A barrierless hydrogen transfer in the 1ππ* excited state, followed by barrierless torsion of the hydroxyl group, lead to a low-lying S1-S0 conical intersection and thus to ultrafast internal conversion. This very efficient mechanism of excited-state deactivation provides HHI with a high degree of intrinsic photostability. It is suggested that the metastable photochemical product HHI plays an essential role for the photoprotective biological function of eumelanin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-762
Number of pages7
JournalChemPhysChem
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Ab initio calculations
  • Excited states
  • Photochromism
  • UV/Vis spectroscopy

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