Temporal mapping of photochemical reactions and molecular excited states with carbon specificity.
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Photochemical reactions are essential to a large number of important industrial and biological processes. A method for monitoring photochemical reaction kinetics and the dynamics of molecular excitations with spatial resolution within the active molecule would allow a rigorous exploration of the pathway and mechanism of photophysical and photochemical processes. Here we demonstrate that laser-excited muon pump-probe spin spectroscopy (photo-μSR) can temporally and spatially map these processes with a spatial resolution at the single-carbon level in a molecule with a pentacene backbone. The observed time-dependent light-induced changes of an avoided level crossing resonance demonstrate that the photochemical reactivity of a specific carbon atom is modified as a result of the presence of the excited state wavefunction. This demonstrates the sensitivity and potential of this technique in probing molecular excitations and photochemistry.