Reply to Catalán : double-proton-transfer dynamics of photo-excited 7-azaindole dimers


The letter by Catalán (1) is concerned with the nature of double-proton transfer in dimers of 7-azaindole (7-AI), and the pertinent issue is whether or not the reaction is concerted. The subject is not new, and, for organic reactions, it has been discussed in the literature for decades. It is now understood that the concerted/consecutive mechanism has to be defined based on the timescale of the vibration motions and the family of coherent trajectories involved (ref. 2 and references therein). For double-proton transfer in isolated dimers, this timescale criterion has been invoked, and, as supported by a variety of time-resolved experiments in several groups and also by theory (ref. 3 and references therein), the conclusion is that the reaction is not concerted on the timescale of the vibrations involved; Catalán and some researchers (see ref. 3) assert that the two protons move in exact concert, maintaining the C_(2h) symmetry at all times

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