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Isomer-specific vibronic structure of the 9-, 1-, and 2-anthracenyl radicals via slow photoelectron velocity-map imaging.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, in various charge and protonation states, are key compounds relevant to combustion chemistry and astrochemistry. Here, we probe the vibrational and electronic spectroscopy of gas-phase 9-, 1-, and 2-anthracenyl radicals (C14H9) by photodetachment of the corresponding cryogenically cooled anions via slow photoelectron velocity-map imaging (cryo-SEVI). The use of a newly designed velocity-map imaging lens in combination with ion cooling yields photoelectron spectra with <2 cm(-1) resolution. Isomer selection of the anions is achieved using gas-phase synthesis techniques, resulting in observation and interpretation of detailed vibronic structure of the ground and lowest excited states for the three anthracenyl radical isomers. The ground-state bands yield electron affinities and vibrational frequencies for several Franck-Condon active modes of the 9-, 1-, and 2-anthracenyl radicals; term energies of the first excited states of these species are also measured. Spectra are interpreted through comparison with ab initio quantum chemistry calculations, Franck-Condon simulations, and calculations of threshold photodetachment cross sections and anisotropies. Experimental measures of the subtle differences in energetics and relative stabilities of these radical isomers are of interest from the perspective of fundamental physical organic chemistry and aid in understanding their behavior and reactivity in interstellar and combustion environments. Additionally, spectroscopic characterization of these species in the laboratory is essential for their potential identification in astrochemical data.

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