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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Formation and stability of gas-phase o -benzoquinone from oxidation of ortho -hydroxyphenyl: a combined neutral and distonic radical study


Gas-phase product detection studies of o-hydroxyphenyl radical and O2 are reported at 373, 500, and 600 K, at 4 Torr (533.3 Pa), using VUV time-resolved synchrotron photoionisation mass spectrometry. The dominant products are assigned as o-benzoquinone (C6H4O2, m/z 108) and cyclopentadienone (C5H4O, m/z 80). It is concluded that cyclopentadienone forms as a secondary product from prompt decomposition of o-benzoquinone (and dissociative ionization of o-benzoquinone may contribute to the m/z 80 signal at photon energies ≳9.8 eV). Ion-trap reactions of the distonic o-hydroxyphenyl analogue, the 5-ammonium-2-hydroxyphenyl radical cation, with O2 are also reported and concur with the assignment of o-benzoquinone as the dominant product. The ion-trap study also provides support for a mechanism where cyclopentadienone is produced by decarbonylation of o-benzoquinone. Kinetic studies compare oxidation of the ammonium-tagged o-hydroxyphenyl and o-methylphenyl radical cations along with trimethylammonium-tagged analogues. Reaction efficiencies are found to be ca. 5% for both charge-tagged o-hydroxyphenyl and o-methylphenyl radicals irrespective of the charged substituent. G3X-K quantum chemical calculations are deployed to rationalise experimental results for o-hydroxyphenyl + O2 and its charge-tagged counterpart. The prevailing reaction mechanism, after O2 addition, involves a facile 1,5-H shift in the peroxyl radical and subsequent elimination of OH to yield o-benzoquinone that is reminiscent of the Waddington mechanism for β-hydroxyperoxyl radicals. These results suggest o-hydroxyphenyl + O2 and decarbonylation of o-benzoquinone serve as plausible OH and CO sources in combustion.

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