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Relative energies, structures, vibrational frequencies, and electronic spectra of pyrylium cation, an oxygen-containing carbocyclic ring isoelectronic with benzene, and its isomers

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We have studied relative energies, structures, rotational, vibrational, and electronic spectra of the pyrylium cation, an oxygen-containing six-membered carbocyclic ring, and its six isomers, using ab initio quantum chemical methods. Isoelectronic with benzene, the pyrylium cation has a benzenoid structure and is the global minimum on the singlet potential energy surface of C5H5O(+). The second lowest energy isomer, the furfuryl cation, has a five membered backbone akin to a sugar, and is only 16 kcal mol(-1) above the global minimum computed using coupled cluster theory with singles, doubles, and perturbative triple excitations (CCSD(T)) with the correlation consistent cc-pVTZ basis set. Other isomers are 25, 26, 37, 60, and 65 kcal mol(-1) above the global minimum, respectively, at the same level of theory. Lower level methods such as density functional theory (B3LYP) and second order Møller-Plesset perturbation theory performed well when tested against the CCSD(T) results. The pyrylium and furfuryl cations, although separated by only 16 kcal mol(-1), are not easily interconverted, as multiple bonds must be broken and formed, and the existence of more than one transition state is likely. Additionally, we have also investigated the asymptotes for the barrierless ion-molecule association of molecules known to exist in the interstellar medium that may lead to formation of the pyrylium cation.

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