Asymmetry induces Q-band split in the electronic excitations of magnesium porphyrin

<p>The electronic excitations of magnesium porphyrin (MgP), a molecular model for understanding the physics in light harvesting by biological systems, have been studied extensively. However, the theoretical underpinning of experimental measurements is still lacking, especially about the sub-bands in absorption spectrum. Here we propose that an asymmetry of MgP based on the uneven charge distribution of pyrrole rings and the linear structure of sp hybridised orbitals in Mg can largely influence the electronic excitations. Upon a very weak asymmetry of Mg-pyrrole bindings in MgP being introduced through the uneven distribution of charge, three different excitations are observed in the Q-band region of the experimental spectrum. Additionally, the predicted B-band excitations are highly correlated (10<sup>−2</sup> eV level) with experimental measurements. In contrast, without this asymmetry, there are only two degenerate excitations in the Q-band region, and low agreement (10<sup>−1</sup> eV level) of the B-band excitations with the experiment. The key physics of the unexpected and observable asymmetry in MgP is the ability of Mg to form sp hybridised orbitals on the third shell upon Mg binding to the nitrogen of pyrrole ring. Our findings provide new insight for high-energy efficiency of natural as well as artificial light-harvesting system for energy challenge.</p>