Evidence for lactone formation during infrared multiple photon dissociation spectroscopy of bromoalkanoate doped salt clusters†
Reaction mechanisms of organic molecules in a salt environment are of fundamental interest and are potentially relevant for atmospheric chemistry, in particular sea-salt aerosols. Here, we found evidence for lactone formation upon infrared multiple photon dissociation (IRMPD) of non-covalent bromoalkanoate complexes as well as bromoalkanoate embedded in sodium iodide clusters. The mechanism of lactone formation from bromoalkanoates of different chain lengths is studied in the gas phase with and without salt environment by a combination of IRMPD and quantum chemical calculations. IRMPD spectra are recorded in the 833–3846 cm−1 range by irradiating the clusters with tunable laser systems while they are stored in the cell of a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer. The measurements of the binary complex Br(CH2)mCOOH·Br(CH2)mCOO− for m = 4 indicate valerolactone formation without salt environment while lactone formation is hindered for longer chain lengths. When embedded in sodium iodide clusters, butyrolactone formation from 4-bromobutyrate seems to take place already during formation of the doped clusters in the electrospray process, evidenced by the infrared (IR) signature of the lactone. In contrast, IRMPD spectra of sodium iodide clusters containing 5-bromovalerate contain signatures for both valerate as well as valerolactone. In both cases, however, a neutral fragment corresponding to the mass of valerolactone is eliminated, indicating that ring formation can be activated by IR light in the salt cluster. Quantum chemical calculations show that already complexation with one sodium ion significantly increases the barrier for lactone formation for all chain lengths. IRMPD of sodium iodide clusters doped with neutral bromoalkanoic acid molecules proceeds by elimination of HI or desorption of the intact acid molecule from the cluster.