1 Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark2 Neutrons and X-rays for Materials Physics, Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark3 European XFEL4 Lund University5 Argonne National Laboratory6 Hungarian Academy of Sciences7 Lund University8 Argonne National Laboratory9 Hungarian Academy of Sciences
We have studied the photoinduced low spin (LS) to high spin (HS) conversion of aqueous Fe(bpy)3 with pulse-limited time resolution. In a combined setup permitting simultaneous X-ray diffuse scattering (XDS) and spectroscopic measurements at a MHz repetition rate we have unraveled the interplay between intramolecular dynamics and the intermolecular caging solvent response with 100 ps time resolution. On this time scale the ultrafast spin transition including intramolecular geometric structure changes as well as the concomitant bulk solvent heating process due to energy dissipation from the excited HS molecule are long completed. The heating is nevertheless observed to further increase due to the excess energy between HS and LS states released on a subnanosecond time scale. The analysis of the spectroscopic data allows precise determination of the excited population which efficiently reduces the number of free parameters in the XDS analysis, and both combined permit extraction of information about the structural dynamics of the first solvation shell.