Excited-State Dynamics of Melamine and Its Lysine Derivative Investigated by Femtosecond Transient Absorption Spectroscopy
Yuyuan Zhang, Ashley A Beckstead, Yuesong Hu, Xijun Piao, Dennis Bong, Bern Kohler
Melamine may have been an important prebiotic information carrier, but its excited-state dynamics, which determine its stability under UV radiation, have never been characterized. The ability of melamine to withstand the strong UV radiation present on the surface of the early Earth is likely to have affected its abundance in the primordial soup. Here, we studied the excited-state dynamics of melamine (a proto-nucleobase) and its lysine derivative (a proto-nucleoside) using the transient absorption technique with a UV pump, and UV and infrared probe pulses. For melamine, the excited-state population decays by internal conversion with a lifetime of 13 ps without coupling significantly to any photochemical channels. The excited-state lifetime of the lysine derivative is slightly longer (18 ps), but the dominant deactivation pathway is otherwise the same as for melamine. In both cases, the vast majority of excited molecules return to the electronic ground state on the aforementioned time scales, but a minor population is trapped in a long-lived triplet state.
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