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Issue 21, 2004
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High resolution photofragment translational spectroscopy studies of the near ultraviolet photolysis of pyrrole

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The fragmentation dynamics of pyrrole molecules following excitation at many wavelengths in the range 193.3 < λphot < 254.0 nm have been investigated by H Rydberg atom photofragment translational spectroscopy. Excitation at the longer wavelengths within this range results in (vibronically induced) population of the 11A2(πσ*) excited state, but once λphot ≤ 225 nm the electric dipole allowed 11B2 ← X1A1(π* ← π) transition becomes the dominant absorption. All of the total kinetic energy release (TKER) spectra so derived show a ‘fast’ peak, centred at TKER ∼7000 cm−1. Analysis of the structure evident in this peak, particularly in spectra recorded at the longer excitation wavelengths, reveals selective population of specific vibrational levels of the pyrrolyl co-fragment. These have been assigned by comparison with calculated normal mode vibrational frequencies, leading to a precise determination of the N–H bond strength in pyrrole: D0 = 32850 ± 40 cm−1, and the enthalpy of formation of the pyrrolyl radical: ΔfH0°(C4H4N) = 301.9 ± 0.5 kJ mol−1. The recoil anisotropy of the fast H atom photofragments formed following excitation to, and dissociation on, the 11A2(πσ*) potential energy surface (PES) is seen to depend upon the vibrational level of the pyrrolyl co-fragment. This observation, and the finding that the mean TKER associated with these fast H + pyrrolyl fragments is essentially independent of λphot, can be explained by assuming that, upon N–H bond fission, the skeletal vibrational motions in pyrrole(11A2) molecules evolve adiabatically into the corresponding modes of the ground state pyrrolyl fragment. A second, ‘slow’ peak is increasingly evident in TKER spectra recorded at shorter photolysis wavelengths, and becomes the dominant feature once λphot ≤ 218 nm. This component exhibits no recoil anisotropy; its TKER profile is reminiscent of that observed in many other dissociations that yield H atoms by ‘statistical’ decay of highly vibrationally excited ground state molecules. The form of the TKER spectra observed at these shorter excitation wavelengths is rationalised by assuming two possible decay routes for pyrrole molecules excited to the 1B2(ππ*) state. One involves fast 11B2 [radiolysis arrow - arrow with voltage kink] 11A2 radiationless transfer and subsequent fragmentation on the 11A2 PES, yielding ‘fast’ H atoms (and pyrrolyl co-fragments)–reminiscent of behaviour seen at longer excitation wavelengths where the 11A2 PES is accessed directly. The second is assumed to involve radiationless transfer to the ground state, either by successive 11B2 [radiolysis arrow - arrow with voltage kink] 11A2 [radiolysis arrow - arrow with voltage kink] X1A1 couplings mediated by conical intersections between the relevant PESs or, possibly, by an as yet unrecognised direct 11B2 [radiolysis arrow - arrow with voltage kink] X1A1 coupling, and subsequent unimolecular decay of the resulting highly vibrationally excited ground state molecules yielding ‘slow’ H atoms (together with, most probably, cyanoallyl co-fragments).

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Article information

28 Jul 2004
17 Aug 2004
First published
07 Sep 2004

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2004,6, 5031-5041
Article type

High resolution photofragment translational spectroscopy studies of the near ultraviolet photolysis of pyrrole

B. Cronin, M. G. D. Nix, R. H. Qadiri and M. N. R. Ashfold, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2004, 6, 5031
DOI: 10.1039/B411589A

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