Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
State-Resolved Dynamics of the CN(B2Sigma+) and CH(A2Delta) Excited Products Resulting from
the VUV Photodissociation of CH3CN
- Author(s): Howle, Chris R.
- Arrowsmith, Alan N.
- Chikan, Viktor
- Leone, Stephen R.
- et al.
Fourier transform visible spectroscopy, in conjunction with VUV photons produced by a synchrotron, is employed to investigate the photodissociation of CH3CN. Emission is observed from both the CN(B2Sigma+ - X2Sigma+) and CH(A2Delta - X2PI) transitions; only the former is observed in spectra recorded at 10.2 and 11.5 eV, whereas both are detected in the 16 eV spectrum. The rotational and vibrational temperatures of both the CN(B2Sigma+) and CH(A2Delta) radical products are derived using a combination of spectral simulations and Boltzmann plots. The CN(B2Sigma+) fragment displays a bimodal rotational distribution in all cases. Trot(CN(B2Sigma+)) ranges from 375 to 600 K at lower K' and from 1840 to 7700 K at higher K' depending on the photon energy used. Surprisal analyses indicate clear bimodal rotational distributions, suggesting CN(B2Sigma+) is formed via either linear or bent transition states, respectively, depending on the extent of rotational excitation in this fragment. CH(A2Delta) has a single rotational distribution when produced at 16 eV which results in Trot(CH(A2Delta)) = 4895 +- 140 K in nu' = 0 and 2590 +- 110 K in nu' = 1. From thermodynamic calculations, it is evident that CH(A2Delta) is produced along with CN(X2Sigma+) + H2. These products can be formed by a two step mechanism (via excited CH3* and ground state CN(X2Sigma+) or a process similar to the "roaming" atom mechanism; the data obtained here are insufficient to definitively conclude whether either pathway occurs. A comparison of the CH(A2Delta) and CN(B2Sigma+) rotational distributions produced by 16 eV photons allows the ratio between the two excited fragments at this energy to be determined. An expression that considers the rovibrational populations of both band systems results in a CH(A2Delta):CN(B2Sigma+) ratio of (1.2 +- 0.1):1 at 16 eV, thereby indicating that production of CH(A2Delta) is significant at 16 eV.