A new molecular phenomenon associated with resonance hyper-Raman (HR) scattering in solution has been discovered. Resonance HR spectra of all-trans- Β -carotene and all-trans-lycopene in various solvents exhibited several extra bands that were not assignable to the solute but were unequivocally assigned to the solvents. Neat solvents did not show detectable HR signals under the same experimental conditions. Similar experiments with all-trans-retinal did not exhibit such enhancement either. All-trans- Β -carotene and all-trans-lycopene have thus been shown to induce enhanced HR scattering of solvent molecules through a novel molecular effect that is not associated with all-trans-retinal. We call this new effect the "molecular near-field effect." In order to explain this newly found effect, an extended vibronic theory of resonance HR scattering is developed where the vibronic interaction including the proximate solvent molecule (intermolecular vibronic coupling) is explicitly introduced in the solute hyperpolarizability tensor. The potential of "molecular near-field HR spectroscopy," which selectively detects molecules existing in the close vicinity of a HR probe in complex chemical or biological systems, is discussed.
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