The use of “ultrafast” femtosecond lasers with pulse durations comparable to the timescales of molecular motion has become widely employed for studying real-time relaxation dynamics following ultraviolet (UV) absorption. Investigating such processes is potentially important for understanding photo-protection mechanisms that take place in, for example, DNA and the melanin pigmentation system, serving to protect the body from the potentially damaging effects of UV light.

Researchers in IPaQS at Heriot-Watt University (in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen) looked at simple amine systems using the powerful time-resolved photoelectron imaging technique and revealed novel variations in the way some of these mechanisms are believed to take place. This raises interesting new questions about their general nature, including the wider role of the chemical substituent environment in mediating efficient molecular energy redistribution.

[Chemical Science 7, 1826]