Theoretical insights into elaborating and regulating excited state dynamics for the novel 6-cyano-2-(2′-hydroxyphenyl)imidazo[1,2a]pyridine system in polar and nonpolar solvents

Given the importance of excited state relaxation in photochemical and photophysical behaviours, in this work, we mainly focus on the excited state dynamical behaviours for the novel 6-cyano-2-(2′-hydroxyphenyl)imidazo[1,2a]pyridine (6-CN-HPIP) system in different aprotic solvents. We find the ultrafast excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) behaviour without potential energy barrier for 6-CN-HPIP in nonpolar solvents. Furthermore, we also explore the excited state intramolecular hydrogen bonding interactions and confirm the hydrogen bond O-HN of 6-CN-HPIP should be strengthened based photo-excitation process. It provides the possibility of ESIPT process. And the charge redistribution resulting from photo-excitation around hydrogen bonding moieties further reveals the ESIPT tendency for 6-CN-HPIP molecule. It is worth mentioning that the increased electronic densities around proton-acceptor moiety play important roles in attracting hydrogen proton, which directly promotes ESIPT reaction. Via constructing potential energy curves, we clarify the ESIPT dynamical process for 6-CN-HPIP system and present a novel mechanism that nonpolar aprotic solvents facilitate ESIPT behaviour for 6-CN-HPIP. We hope that novel applications and developments could be promoted for 6-CH-HPIP and its derivatives through regulating and controlling ESIPT behaviours in future.