Selective photo-excitation of molecules enabled by stimulated Raman pre-excitation

Yisen Wang, Francois Laforge, Alexei Goun, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Double resonance excitation, where the energies of vibrational and electronic molecular transitions are combined in a single, sequential excitation process, was introduced in the 1970s but has only been recently applied to microscopy due to the immense progress in Raman spectroscopy. The value of the technique is in combining the chemical selectivity of IR or Raman excitation with the much larger cross-sections of electronic transitions. Recently, it has been shown to be particularly suited for the detection and identification of chromophores at low concentrations and in the presence of spectral crosstalk. However, despite its low quantum yield per pulse sequence, we believe the technique has potential for selective photochemical transformations. There are some cases (e.g., the selective excitation of optogenetic switches) where the low yield may be overcome by repeated excitations to build up biochemically relevant concentrations. Here we show that double resonance excitation using general, non-resonant Raman pre-excitation is a viable candidate for selectively promoting molecules to chemically active energy levels. The use of non-resonant Raman pre-excitation is less constraining than resonant Raman (used in previous double resonance microscopy works) since the choice of Raman pump-Stokes frequencies may be rather freely chosen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10062-10068
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 7 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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