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To enrich and enhance the diversity of the \textsc{quest} database of highly-accurate excitation energies [\href{https://doi.org/10.1002/wcms.1517}{V\'eril \textit{et al.}, \textit{WIREs Comput.~Mol.~Sci.}~\textbf{11}, e1517 (2021)}], we report vertical transition energies in transition metal compounds. Eleven diatomic molecules with singlet or doublet ground state containing a fourth-row transition metal (\ce{CuCl}, \ce{CuF}, \ce{CuH}, \ce{ScF}, \ce{ScH}, \ce{ScO}, \ce{ScS}, \ce{TiN}, \ce{ZnH}, \ce{ZnO}, and \ce{ZnS}) are considered and the corresponding excitation energies are computed using high-level coupled-cluster (CC) methods, namely CC3, CCSDT, CC4, and CCSDTQ, as well as multiconfigurational methods such as CASPT2 and NEVPT2. In some cases, to provide more comprehensive benchmark data, we also provide full configuration interaction estimates computed with the \textit{``Configuration Interaction using a Perturbative Selection made Iteratively''} (CIPSI) method. Based on these calculations, theoretical best estimates of the transition energies are established in both the aug-cc-pVDZ and aug-cc-pVTZ basis sets. This allows us to accurately assess the performance of CC and multiconfigurational methods for this specific set of challenging transitions. Furthermore, comparisons with experimental data and previous theoretical results are also reported.

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The complex photoisomerization mechanism of the dihydropyrene (DHP) photochromic system is revisited using spin-flip time-dependent density functional theory (SF-TD-DFT). The photoinduced ring-opening reaction of DHP into its cyclophanediene isomer involves multiple coupled electronic states of different character. A balanced treatment of both static and dynamic electron correlations is required to determine both the photophysical and photochemical paths in this system. The present results provide a refinement of the mechanistic picture provided in a previous complete active space self-consistent field plus second-order perturbation theory (CASPT2//CASSCF) study based on geometry optimizations at the CASSCF level. In particular, the nature of the conical intersection playing the central role of the photochemical funnel is different. While at the CASSCF level, the crossing with the ground state involves a covalent doubly excited state leading to a three-electron/three-center bond conical intersection, SF-TD-DFT predicts a crossing between the ground state and a zwitterionic state. These results are supported by multi-state CASPT2 calculations. This study illustrates the importance of optimizing conical intersections at a sufficiently correlated level of theory to describe a photochemical path involving crossings between covalent and ionic states.

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Metal complexes with a 3d6 electron count are emerging as an alternative to 4d6-based photosensitizers, emitters, or photoredox catalysts. In recent years several Fe(II) potential emitters have been proposed, based on strongly donating ligand sets. Those tend to facilitate oxidation to their 3d5 species, whose photophysics is based on low-lying ligand-to-metal charge transfer (LMCT) states. The geometry and electronic structure of 2LMCT states are unveiled in this work.

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Molecular systems and devices whose properties can be modulated using light as an external stimulus are the subject of numerous research studies in the fields of materials and life sciences. In this context, the use of photochromic compounds that reversibly switch upon light irradiation is particularly attractive. However, for many envisioned applications, and in particular for biological purposes, illumination with harmful UV light must be avoided and these photoactivable systems must operate in aqueous media. In this context, we have designed a benzo[e]-fused dimethyldihydropyrene compound bearing a methyl-pyridinium electroacceptor group that meets these requirements. This compound (closed state) is able to reversibly isomerize under aerobic conditions into its corresponding cyclophanediene form (open isomer) through the opening of its central carbon–carbon bond. Both the photo-opening and the reverse photoclosing processes are triggered by visible light illumination and proceed with high quantum yields (respectively 14.5% yield at λ = 680 nm and quantitative quantum yield at λ = 470 nm, in water). This system has been investigated by nuclear magnetic resonance and absorption spectroscopy, and the efficient photoswitching behavior was rationalized by spin-flip time-dependent density functional theory calculations. In addition, it is demonstrated that the isomerization from the open to the closed form can be electrocatalytically triggered.

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Excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) is a photophysical process that may lead to superior emission properties. For a long time, cinnamoyl pyrone (CP) derivatives have been classified as non-ESIPT molecules. With the exception of those bearing a strong electron-donor substituent, they have been considered to have no interest from a spectroscopic point of view, because they are virtually not fluorescent in solution. Revisiting their photophysical behaviour in solution shows the complexity of the mechanisms involved. It appeared that CPs with no or weak electron-donor substituents indeed undergo ESIPT, but the facile access to a conical intersection subsequently induces non-radiative deactivation, hence the extinction of fluorescence in solution. When substituted by an electron-donating diethylamino group, the molecules deactivate through a radiative intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) state following an ESIPT process. In the solid state, the restricted access to conical intersection (RACI) makes most of the CP derivatives strongly fluorescent. Whatever the electron-donating strength of their substituent, most of these molecules become good emitters in the solid state, with emission ranging from turquoise blue to deep red. Although they need extensive purification, their one-step synthesis and spectacular aggregation-induced emission (AIE) properties make these molecules good candidates for applications in the field of AIE-probes and photoluminescent materials.

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