The ultrafast electronic relaxation dynamics of neutral nickel oxide clusters were investigated with femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy and supported with theoretical calculations to reveal that their excited state lifetimes are strongly dependent on the nature of the electronic transition. Absorption of a UV photon produces short-lived (lifetime ∼ 110 fs) dynamics in stoichiometric (NiO)n clusters (n < 6) that are attributed to a ligand to metal charge transfer (LMCT) and produces metallic-like electron-electron scattering. Oxygen vacancies introduce excitations with Ni-3d → Ni-4s and 3d → 4p character, which increases the lifetimes of the sub-picosecond response by up to 80% and enables the formation of long-lived (lifetimes >2.5 ps) states. The atomic precision and tunability of gas phase clusters are employed to highlight a unique reliance on the Ni orbital contributions to the photoexcited lifetimes, providing new insights to the analogous band edge excitation dynamics of strongly correlated bulk-scale NiO materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry