Unravelling the Origin of the Vibronic Spectral Signatures in an Excitonically Coupled Indocarbocyanine Cy3 Dimer

Dimer Mohammed Sorour, Andrew Marcus, Spiridoula Matsika, submitted to J. Phys. Chem. A (2023)

The indocarbocyanine Cy3 dye is widely used to probe the dynamics of proteins and DNA. Excitonically coupled Cy3 dimers exhibit very unique spectral signatures that depend on the interchromophoric geometrical orientation induced by the environment, making them a powerful tool to infer the dynamics of their surroundings. Understanding the origin of the dimeric spectral signatures is a necessity for an accurate interpretation of the experimental results. In this work we simulate the vibronic spectrum of an experimentally well-studied  Cy3 dimer, and we explain the origin of the experimental signatures present in its linear absorption spectrum. The Franck-Condon harmonic approximations among other tests are used to probe the factors contributing to the spectrum. It is found that the first peak in the absorption spectrum originates from the lower energy excitonic state while the next two peaks are vibrational progressions of the higher energy excitonic state. The polar solvent plays a crucial role in the appearance of the spectrum, being responsible for the localized S1 minimum which results in increased intensity of the first peak.