Ultrafast photophysical studies of a multicomponent sunscreen: Oxybenzone–titanium dioxide mixtures

Lewis A. Baker, Lucy C. Grosvenor, Michael N R Ashfold, Vasilios G. Stavros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
361 Downloads (Pure)


Recent studies of the sunscreen constituent oxybenzone have suggested that the dominant mechanism underlying the efficient photoprotection it offers relies on an initial ultrafast enol → keto tautomerisation, followed by nonadiabatic transfer to the ground electronic state. Subsequent collisions with the solvent bath then reform the original enol tautomer. Utilising femtosecond transient electronic absorption spectroscopy we explore the dissipation of electronic excitation energy in oxybenzone in the presence of titanium dioxide, a widely used, and complementary sunscreen component. We find the relaxation dynamics of this popular organic filter are unaltered by the presence of this favoured inorganic scatterer and the overall dynamics can be described by the additive contribution of the individual constituents. The combination of the two components provides broadband photoprotective properties justifying the widely used organic filter and inorganic scatterer mixtures in commercial sunscreen products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalChemical Physics Letters
Early online date4 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Oxybenzone
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Sunscreens
  • Transient absorption spectroscopy
  • Ultrafast photochemistry
  • Solution phase


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