Ultrafast dynamics of adenine following XUV ionization


Abstract The dynamics of biologically relevant molecules exposed to ionizing radiation contains many facets and spans several orders of magnitude in time and energy. In the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) spectral range, multi-electronic phenomena and bands of correlated states with inner-valence holes must be accounted for in addition to a plethora of vibrational modes and available dissociation channels. To be able to track changes in charge density and bond length during ultrafast reactions is an important endeavour towards more general abilities to simulate and control photochemical processes, possibly inspired by those that have evolved biologically. By using attosecond XUV pulses extending up to 35 eV and few-femtosecond near-infrared pulses, we have previously time-resolved correlated electronic dynamics and charge migration occurring in the biologically relevant molecule adenine after XUV-induced sudden ionization. Here, by using additional experimental data, we comprehensively report on both electronic and vibrational dynamics of this nucleobase in an energy range little explored to date with high temporal resolution. The time-dependent yields of parent and fragment ions in mass spectra are analysed to extract exponential time constants and oscillation periods. Together with time-dependent density functional theory and ab-initio Green’s function methods, we identify different vibrational and electronic processes. Beyond providing further insights into the XUV-induced dynamics of an important nucleobase, our work demonstrates that yields of specific dissociation outcomes can be influenced by sufficiently well-timed ultrashort pulses, therefore providing a new route for the control of the multi-electronic and dissociative dynamics of a DNA building block.

Journal of Physics: Photonics
Umberto De Giovannini
Umberto De Giovannini
Assistant Professor