We describe ultrafast proton transfer in the ground electronic state triggered by the use of shock waves created by high-speed impacts. The emission of Nile Red (NR), a polarity sensing dye, was used to probe the effects of shock compression in a series of polymers, including polymer Brønsted bases blended with organic acid proton donors. NR undergoes a shock-induced red-shift due to an increase both in density and in polymer polarity. In blends with poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PVP) and phenol, NR showed an excess shock-induced red-shift with a distinct time dependence not present in controls that are incapable of proton transfer. The excess red-shift first appeared with 0.8 km·s-1 impacts. Occurring in ca. 10 ns, this NR red-shift was caused by the formation of an ion pair created by shock-triggered proton transfer from phenol to PVP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3974-3977
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 22 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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