Characterization of the methoxy carbonyl radical formed via photolysis of methyl chloroformate at 193.3 nm

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • M. J. Bell
  • M. J. Krisch
  • D. I G Bennett
  • L. J. Butler
  • F. Weinhold

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1762-1770
Journal / PublicationJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Volume111
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2007

Abstract

This study investigates two features of interest in recent work on the photolytic production of the methoxy carbonyl radical and its subsequent unimolecular dissociation channels. Earlier studies used methyl chloroformate as a photolytic precursor for the CH3OCO, methoxy carbonyl (or methoxy formyl) radical, which is an intermediate in many reactions that are relevant to combustion and atmospheric chemistry. That work evidenced two competing C-Cl bond fission channels, tentatively assigning them as producing ground-and excited-state methoxy carbonyl radicals. In this study, we measure the photofragment angular distributions for each C-Cl bond fission channel and the spin-orbit state of the Cl atoms produced. The data shows bond fission leading to the production of ground-state methoxy carbonyl radicals with a high kinetic energy release and an angular distribution characterized by an anisotropy parameter, β, of between 0.37 and 0.64. The bond fission that leads to the production of excited-state radicals, with a low kinetic energy release, has an angular distribution best described by a negative anisotropy parameter. The very different angular distributions suggest that two different excited states of methyl chloroformate lead to the formation of ground- and excited-state methoxy carbonyl products. Moreover, with these measurements we were able to refine the product branching fractions to 82% of the C-Cl bond fission resulting in ground-state radicals and 18% resulting in excited-state radicals. The maximum kinetic energy release of 12 kcal/mol measured for the channel producing excited-state radicals suggests that the adiabatic excitation energy of the radical is less than or equal to 55 kcal/mol, which is lower than the 67.8 kcal/mol calculated by UCCSD(T) methods in this study. The low-lying excited states of methylchloroformate are also considered here to understand the observed angular distributions. Finally, the mechanism for the unimolecular dissociation of the methoxy carbonyl radical to CH3 + CO2, which can occur through a transition state with either cis or, with a much higher barrier, trans geometry, was investigated with natural bond orbital computations. The results suggest donation of electron density from the nonbonding C radical orbital to the σ* orbital of the breaking C-O bond accounts for the additional stability of the cis transition state. © 2007 American Chemical Society.

Citation Format(s)

Characterization of the methoxy carbonyl radical formed via photolysis of methyl chloroformate at 193.3 nm. / Bell, M. J.; Lau, K. C.; Krisch, M. J. et al.

In: Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Vol. 111, No. 10, 15.03.2007, p. 1762-1770.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review