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Title: A plethora of isomerization processes and hydrogen scrambling in the fragmentation of the methanol dimer cation: a PEPICO study
The valence photoionization of light and deuterated methanol dimers was studied by imaging photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy in the 10.00–10.35 eV photon energy range. Methanol clusters were generated in a rich methanol beam in nitrogen after expansion into vacuum. They generally photoionize dissociatively to protonated methanol cluster cations, (CH 3 OH) n H + . However, the stable dimer parent ion (CH 3 OH) 2 + is readily detected below the dissociation threshold to yield the dominant CH 3 OH 2 + fragment ion. In addition to protonated methanol, we could also detect the water- and methyl-loss fragment ions of the methanol dimer cation for the first time. These newly revealed fragmentation channels are slow and cannot compete with protonated methanol cation formation at higher internal energies. In fact, the water- and methyl-loss fragment ions appear together and disappear at a ca. 150 meV higher energy in the breakdown diagram. Experiments with selectively deuterated methanol samples showed H scrambling involving two hydroxyl and one methyl hydrogens prior to protonated methanol formation. These insights guided the potential energy surface exploration to rationalize the dissociative photoionization mechanism. The potential energy surface was further validated by a statistical model including isotope effects to fit the experiment for the light and the perdeuterated methanol dimers simultaneously. The (CH 3 OH) 2 + parent ion dissociates via five parallel channels at low internal energies. The loss of both CH 2 OH and CH 3 O neutral fragments leads to protonated methanol. However, the latter, direct dissociation channel is energetically forbidden at low energies. Instead, an isomerization transition state is followed by proton transfer from a methyl group, which leads to the CH 3 (H)OH + ⋯CH 2 OH ion, the precursor to the CH 2 OH-, H 2 O-, and CH 3 -loss fragments after further isomerization steps, in part by a roaming mechanism. Water loss yields the ethanol cation, and two paths are proposed to account for m/z 49 fragment ions after CH 3 loss. The roaming pathways are quickly outcompeted by hydrogen bond breaking to yield CH 3 OH 2 + , which explains the dominance of the protonated methanol fragment ion in the mass spectrum.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1665464
NSF-PAR ID:
10382702
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume:
24
Issue:
3
ISSN:
1463-9076
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1437 to 1446
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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