DOI: 10.1063/5.0143253 ISSN: 0021-9606

Swinging between shine and shadow: Theoretical advances on thermally activated vibropolaritonic chemistry

J. A. Campos-Gonzalez-Angulo, Y. R. Poh, M. Du, J. Yuen-Zhou
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy

Polariton chemistry has emerged as an appealing branch of synthetic chemistry that promises mode selectivity and a cleaner approach to kinetic control. Of particular interest are the numerous experiments in which reactivity has been modified by virtue of performing the reaction inside infrared optical microcavities in the absence of optical pumping; this effort is known as “vibropolaritonic chemistry.” The optimal conditions for these observations are (1) resonance between cavity and reactive modes at normal incidence (k = 0) and (2) a monotonic increase of the effect with the concentration of emitters in the sample. Importantly, vibropolaritonic chemistry has only been experimentally demonstrated in the so-called “collective” strong coupling regime, where there is a macroscopic number of molecules (rather than a single molecule) coupled to each photon mode of the microcavity. Strikingly, efforts to understand this phenomenon from a conceptual standpoint have encountered several roadblocks, and no single, unifying theory has surfaced thus far. This Perspective documents the most relevant approaches taken by theorists, laying out the contributions and unresolved challenges from each work. We expect this Perspective to not only serve as a primer for experimentalists and theorists alike but also inform future endeavors in the quest for the ultimate formalism of vibropolaritonic chemical kinetics.

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