A series of all-trans-carotenoids with N=9, 13, and 15 conjugated bonds has been studied by pump-probe and pump-deplete-probe spectroscopies to obtain a systematic analysis of the energy flow between the different electronic states. The ultrafast dynamics in the carotenoids are initialized by excitation to the S2 state and subsequently manipulated by an additional depletion pulse in the near-IR spectral range. The changes in the dynamics after depletion of the excited state population allowed differentiation of the excited state absorption into two components, a major one corresponding to the well known S1 state and the small contribution on the red wing of the S0-S2 absorption band originating from the hot ground state. We found no evidence for an additional electronically excited state, usually called S*. Instead, a deactivation mechanism that includes the hot ground state supports the observed results nicely in the framework of a simple three state model (S2, S1, and S0).

J. Chem. Phys.

Buckup, T., Savolainen, J., Wohlleben, W., Herek, J., Hashimoto, H., Correia, R. R. B., & Motzkus, M. (2006). Pump-probe and pump-deplete-probe spectroscopies on carotenoids with N=9-15 conjugated bonds. J. Chem. Phys., 125(Article number: 194505), 1–7. doi:10.1063/1.2388274