Atmospheric formation of the NO3 radical from gas-phase reaction of HNO3 acid with the NH2 radical: proton-coupled electron-transfer versus hydrogen atom transfer mechanisms†
The gas-phase reaction of nitric acid with the amidogen radical under atmospheric conditions has been investigated using quantum mechanical (QCISD and CCSD(T)) and DFT (B3LYP, BH&HLYP, M05, M05-2X, and M06-2X) calculations with the 6-311+G(2df,2p), aug-cc-pVTZ, aug-cc-pVQZ and extrapolation to the CBS basis sets. The reaction begins with the barrierless formation of a hydrogen-bonded complex, which can undergo two different reaction pathways, in addition to the decomposition back to the reactants. The lowest energy barrier pathway involves a proton-coupled electron-transfer mechanism, whereas the highest energy barrier pathway takes place through a hydrogen atom transfer mechanism. The performance of the different DFT functionals in predicting both the geometries and relative energies of the stationary points investigated has been analyzed.