skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Abplanalp, Matthew J."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. For more than half a century, pericyclic reactions have played an important role in advancing our fundamental understanding of cycloadditions, sigmatropic shifts, group transfer reactions, and electrocyclization reactions. However, the fundamental mechanisms of photochemically activated cheletropic reactions have remained contentious. Here we report on the simplest cheletropic reaction: the [2+1] addition of ground state 18 O-carbon monoxide (C 18 O, X 1 Σ + ) to D2-acetylene (C 2 D 2 ) photochemically excited to the first excited triplet (T1), second excited triplet (T2), and first excited singlet state (S1) at 5 K, leading to the formation of D2- 18 O-cyclopropenone (c-C 3 D 2 18 O). Supported by quantum-chemical calculations, our investigation provides persuasive testimony on stepwise cheletropic reaction pathways to cyclopropenone via excited state dynamics involving the T2 (non-adiabatic) and S1 state (adiabatic) of acetylene at 5 K, while the T1 state energetically favors an intermediate structure that directly dissociates after relaxing to the ground state. The agreement between experiments in low temperature ices and the excited state calculations signifies how photolysis experiments coupled with theoretical calculations can untangle polyatomic reactions with relevance to fundamental physical organic chemistry at the molecular level, thus affording a versatile strategy to unravel exotic non-equilibrium chemistries in cyclic, aromatic organics. Distinct from traditional radical–radical pathways leading to organic molecules on ice-coated interstellar nanoparticles (interstellar grains) in cold molecular clouds and star-forming regions, the photolytic formation of cyclopropenone as presented changes the perception of how we explain the formation of complex organics in the interstellar medium eventually leading to the molecular precursors of biorelevant molecules. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
  3. Titan’s equatorial dunes represent the most monumental surface structures in our Solar System, but the chemical composition of their dark organics remains a fundamental, unsolved enigma, with solid acetylene detected near the dunes implicated as a key feedstock. Here, we reveal in laboratory simulation experiments that aromatics such as benzene, naphthalene, and phenanthrene—prospective building blocks of the organic dune material—can be efficiently synthesized via galactic cosmic ray exposure of low-temperature acetylene ices on Titan’s surface, hence challenging conventional wisdom that aromatic hydrocarbons are formed solely in Titan’s atmosphere. These processes are also of critical importance in unraveling the origin and chemical composition of the dark surfaces of airless bodies in the outer Solar System, where hydrocarbon precipitation from the atmosphere cannot occur. This finding notably advances our understanding of the distribution of carbon throughout our Solar System such as on Kuiper belt objects like Makemake. 
    more » « less
  4. Recently, over 200 molecules have been detected in the interstellar medium (ISM), with about one third being complex organic molecules (COMs), molecules containing six or more atoms. Over the last few decades, astrophysical laboratory experiments have shown that several COMs are formed via interaction of ionizing radiation within ices deposited on interstellar dust particles at 10 K (H 2 O, CH 3 OH, CO, CO 2 , CH 4 , NH 3 ). However, there is still a lack of understanding of the chemical complexity that is available through individual ice constituents. The present research investigates experimentally the synthesis of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bearing COMs from interstellar ice analogues containing carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH 4 ), ethane (C 2 H 6 ), ethylene (C 2 H 4 ), or acetylene (C 2 H 2 ) exposed to ionizing radiation. Utilizing online and in situ techniques, such as infrared spectroscopy and tunable photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS), specific isomers produced could be characterized. A total of 12 chemically different groups were detected corresponding to C 2 H n O ( n = 2, 4, 6), C 3 H n O ( n = 2, 4, 6, 8), C 4 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 5 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 6 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14), C 2 H n O 2 ( n = 2, 4), C 3 H n O 2 ( n = 4, 6, 8), C 4 H n O 2 ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 5 H n O 2 ( n = 6, 8), C 6 H n O 2 ( n = 8, 10, 12), C 4 H n O 3 ( n = 4, 6, 8), and C 5 H n O 3 ( n = 6, 8). More than half of these isomer specifically identified molecules have been identified in the ISM, and the remaining COMs detected here can be utilized to guide future astronomical observations. Of these isomers, three groups – alcohols, aldehydes, and molecules containing two of these functional groups – displayed varying degrees of unsaturation. Also, the detection of 1-propanol, 2-propanol, 1-butanal, and 2-methyl-propanal has significant implications as the propyl and isopropyl moieties (C 3 H 7 ), which have already been detected in the ISM via propyl cyanide and isopropyl cyanide, could be detected in our laboratory studies. General reaction mechanisms for their formation are also proposed, with distinct follow-up studies being imperative to elucidate the complexity of COMs synthesized in these ices. 
    more » « less
  5. Pure methane (CH 4 ) ices processed by energetic electrons under ultra-high vacuum conditions to simulate secondary electrons formed via galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) penetrating interstellar ice mantles have been shown to produce an array of complex hydrocarbons with the general formulae: C n H 2n+2 ( n = 4–8), C n H 2n ( n = 3–9), C n H 2n−2 ( n = 3–9), C n H 2n−4 ( n = 4–9), and C n H 2n−6 ( n = 6–7). By monitoring the in situ chemical evolution of the ice combined with temperature programmed desorption (TPD) studies and tunable single photon ionization coupled to a reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer, specific isomers of C 3 H 4 , C 3 H 6 , C 4 H 4 , and C 4 H 6 were probed. These experiments confirmed the synthesis of methylacetylene (CH 3 CCH), propene (CH 3 CHCH 2 ), cyclopropane (c-C 3 H 6 ), vinylacetylene (CH 2 CHCCH), 1-butyne (HCCC 2 H 5 ), 2-butyne (CH 3 CCCH 3 ), 1,2-butadiene (H 2 CCCH(CH 3 )), and 1,3-butadiene (CH 2 CHCHCH 2 ) with yields of 2.17 ± 0.95 × 10 −4 , 3.7 ± 1.5 × 10 −3 , 1.23 ± 0.77 × 10 −4 , 1.28 ± 0.65 × 10 −4 , 4.01 ± 1.98 × 10 −5 , 1.97 ± 0.98 × 10 −4 , 1.90 ± 0.84 × 10 −5 , and 1.41 ± 0.72 × 10 −4 molecules eV −1 , respectively. Mechanistic studies exploring the formation routes of methylacetylene, propene, and vinylacetylene were also conducted, and revealed the additional formation of the 1,2,3-butatriene isomer. Several of the above isomers, methylacetylene, propene, vinylacetylene, and 1,3-butadiene, have repeatedly been shown to be important precursors in the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but until now their interstellar synthesis has remained elusive. 
    more » « less
  6. Methylamine (CH 3 NH 2 ) and methanimine (CH 2 NH) represent essential building blocks in the formation of amino acids in interstellar and cometary ices. In our study, by exploiting isomer selective detection of the reaction products via photoionization coupled with reflectron time of flight mass spectrometry (Re-TOF-MS), we elucidate the formation of methanimine and ethylenediamine (NH 2 CH 2 CH 2 NH 2 ) in methylamine ices exposed to energetic electrons as a proxy for secondary electrons generated by energetic cosmic rays penetrating interstellar and cometary ices. Interestingly, the two products methanimine and ethylenediamine are isoelectronic to formaldehyde (H 2 CO) and ethylene glycol (HOCH 2 CH 2 OH), respectively. Their formation has been confirmed in interstellar ice analogs consisting of methanol (CH 3 OH) which is ioselectronic to methylamine. Both oxygen-bearing species formed in methanol have been detected in the interstellar medium (ISM), while for methanimine and ethylenediamine only methanimine has been identified so far. In comparison with the methanol ice products and our experimental findings, we predict that ethylenediamine should be detectable in these astronomical sources, where methylamine and methanimine are present. 
    more » « less