Oriented external electric fields as mimics for probing the role of metal ions and ligands in the thermal gas-phase activation of methane†
In the course of combined computational and mass spectrometry-based mechanistic studies, recently we came across rather unusual, if not unprecedented, effects of transition-metal ions and ligands when simple metal oxides or carbides are subjected to thermal gas-phase reactions with methane. Interestingly, “Gedankenexperiments” demonstrate how these effects can be modeled using oriented external electric fields (OEEFs), thus expanding their predicted role as “smart reagents” (Shaik et al., Nat. Chem., 2016, 8, 1091), and further suggesting that the OEEFs may be used in controlling the adsorption/desorption behavior of methane as well as serving as a tool to explore mechanistic features.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2018 Frontier and Perspective articles