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  1. We report the hyperfine-resolved rotational spectrum of the gas-phase phenoxy radical in the 8−25 GHz frequency range using cavity Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy. A complete assignment of its complex but well-resolved fine and hyperfine splittings yielded a precisely determined set of rotational constants, spin-rotation parameters, and nuclear hyperfine coupling constants. These results are interpreted with support from high-level quantum chemical calculations to gain detailed insight into the distribution of the unpaired π electron in this prototypical resonance-stabilized radical. The accurate laboratory rest frequencies enable studies of the chemistry of phenoxy in both the laboratory and space. The prospects of extending the present experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate the rotational spectra of isotopic variants and structural isomers of phenoxy and other important gas-phase radical intermediates that are yet undetected at radio wavelengths are discussed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2025
  2. We report the hyperfine-resolved rotational spectrum of gas-phase phenoxy radical in the 8–25 GHz frequency range using cavity Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy. A complete assignment of its complex but well-resolved fine and hyperfine splittings has yielded a precisely determined set of rotational constants, spin-rotation parameters, and nuclear hyperfine coupling constants. These results are interpreted with support from high-level quantum chemical calculations to gain detailed insight into the distribution of the unpaired π electron in this prototypical resonance-stabilized radical. The accurate laboratory rest frequencies enable studies of the chemistry of phenoxy in both the laboratory and in space. The prospects of extending the present experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate the rotational spectra of isotopic variants and structural isomers of phenoxy and other important gas-phase radical intermediates yet undetected at radio wavelengths are discussed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 17, 2025
  3. ABSTRACT

    Two closely related isomeric pairs of cyanides, CH3[CN/NC] and H2C[CN/NC], are studied in cold, dark interstellar cloud conditions. In contrast to the diverse detections of methyl cyanide (CH3CN) in space, methyl isocyanide (CH3NC) has previously only been observed in warm and hot star-forming regions. We report the detection of CH3NC in the cold pre-stellar core Taurus Molecular Cloud (TMC-1) using the Green Bank Telescope with a detection significance of 13.4σ. Hyperfine transitions in H2CCN and quadrupole interactions in CH3CN and CH3NC were matched to a spectral line survey from the Green Bank Telescope Observations of TMC-1: Hunting for Aromatic Molecules large project on the Green Bank Telescope, resulting in abundances with respect to hydrogen of $1.92^{+0.13}_{-0.07} \times 10^{-9}$ for the cyanomethyl radical (H2CCN), $5.02^{+3.08}_{-2.06} \times 10^{-10}$ for CH3CN, and $2.97^{+2.10}_{-1.37} \times 10^{-11}$ for CH3NC. Efforts to model these molecules with the three-phase gas-grain code nautilus in TMC-1 conditions overproduce both CH3CN and CH3NC, though the ratio of ∼5.9 per cent is consistent across observations and models of these species. This may point to missing destruction routes in the model. The models capture the larger abundance of H2CCN well. Dissociative recombination is found to be the primary production route for these molecules, and reactions with abundant ions are found to be the primary destruction routes. H + CH3NC is investigated with transition state theory as a potential destruction route, but found to be too slow in cold cloud conditions to account for the discrepancy in modelled and observed abundances of CH3NC.

     
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  4. Ergodicity, the central tenet of statistical mechanics, requires an isolated system to explore all available phase space constrained by energy and symmetry. Mechanisms for violating ergodicity are of interest for probing nonequilibrium matter and protecting quantum coherence in complex systems. Polyatomic molecules have long served as a platform for probing ergodicity breaking in vibrational energy transport. Here, we report the observation of rotational ergodicity breaking in an unprecedentedly large molecule,12C60, determined from its icosahedral rovibrational fine structure. The ergodicity breaking occurs well below the vibrational ergodicity threshold and exhibits multiple transitions between ergodic and nonergodic regimes with increasing angular momentum. These peculiar dynamics result from the molecule’s distinctive combination of symmetry, size, and rigidity, highlighting its relevance to emergent phenomena in mesoscopic quantum systems.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 18, 2024
  5. Abstract We report the detection of the lowest-energy conformer of E -1-cyano-1,3-butadiene ( E -1- C 4 H 5 CN ), a linear isomer of pyridine, using the fourth data reduction of the GBT Observations of TMC-1: Hunting for Aromatic Molecules (GOTHAM) deep spectral survey toward TMC-1 with the 100 m Green Bank Telescope. We perform velocity stacking and matched-filter analyses using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations and find evidence for the presence of this molecule at the 5.1 σ level. We derive a total column density of 3.8 − 0.9 + 1.0 × 10 10 cm −2 , which is predominantly found toward two of the four velocity components we observe toward TMC-1. We use this molecule as a proxy for constraining the gas-phase abundance of the apolar hydrocarbon 1,3-butadiene. Based on the three-phase astrochemical modeling code NAUTILUS and an expanded chemical network, our model underestimates the abundance of cyano-1,3-butadiene by a factor of 19, with a peak column density of 2.34 × 10 10 cm −2 for 1,3-butadiene. Compared to the modeling results obtained in previous GOTHAM analyses, the abundance of 1,3-butadiene is increased by about two orders of magnitude. Despite this increase, the modeled abundances of aromatic species do not appear to change and remain underestimated by one to four orders of magnitude. Meanwhile, the abundances of the five-membered ring molecules increase proportionally with 1,3-butadiene by two orders of magnitude. We discuss the implications for bottom-up formation routes to aromatic and polycyclic aromatic molecules. 
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  6. Abstract Using data from the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) Observations of TMC-1: Hunting for Aromatic Molecules (GOTHAM) survey, we report the first astronomical detection of the C 10 H − anion. The astronomical observations also provided the necessary data to refine the spectroscopic parameters of C 10 H − . From the velocity stacked data and the matched filter response, C 10 H − is detected at >9 σ confidence level at a column density of 4.04 − 2.23 + 10.67 × 10 11 cm −2 . A dedicated search for the C 10 H radical was also conducted toward TMC-1. In this case, the stacked molecular emission of C 10 H was detected at a ∼3.2 σ confidence interval at a column density of 2.02 − 0.82 + 2.68 × 10 11 cm −2 . However, as the determined confidence level is currently <5 σ , we consider the identification of C 10 H as tentative. The full GOTHAM data set was also used to better characterize the physical parameters including column density, excitation temperature, line width, and source size for the C 4 H, C 6 H, and C 8 H radicals and their respective anions, and the measured column densities were compared to the predictions from a gas/grain chemical formation model and from a machine learning analysis. Given the measured values, the C 10 H − /C 10 H column density ratio is ∼ 2.0 − 1.6 + 5.9 —the highest value measured between an anion and neutral species to date. Such a high ratio is at odds with current theories for interstellar anion chemistry. For the radical species, both models can reproduce the measured abundances found from the survey; however, the machine learning analysis matches the detected anion abundances much better than the gas/grain chemical model, suggesting that the current understanding of the formation chemistry of molecular anions is still highly uncertain. 
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