Skip to content

Linking photochemistry in the gas and solution phase: S-H bond fission in p-methylthiophenol following UV photoexcitation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-58; discussion 505-32
JournalFaraday Discussions
DatePublished - 25 May 2011


Gas-phase H (Rydberg) atom photofragment translational spectroscopy and solution-phase femtosecond-pump dispersed-probe transient absorption techniques are applied to explore the excited state dynamics of p-methylthiophenol connecting the short time reactive dynamics in the two phases. The molecule is excited at a range of UV wavelengths from 286 to 193 nm. The experiments clearly demonstrate that photoexcitation results in S-H bond fission--both in the gas phase and in ethanol solution-and that the resulting p-methythiophenoxyl radical fragments are formed with significant vibrational excitation. In the gas phase, the recoil anisotropy of the H atom and the vibrational energy disposal in the p-MePhS radical products formed at the longer excitation wavelengths reveal the operation of two excited state dissociation mechanisms. The prompt excited state dissociation motif appears to map into the condensed phase also. In both phases, radicals are produced in both their ground and first excited electronic states; characteristic signatures for both sets of radical products are already apparent in the condensed phase studies after 50 fs. No evidence is seen for either solute ionisation or proton coupled electron transfer--two alternate mechanisms that have been proposed for similar heteroaromatics in solution. Therefore, at least for prompt S-H bond fissions, the direct observation of the dissociation process in solution confirms that the gas phase photofragmentation studies indeed provide important insights into the early time dynamics that transfer to the condensed phase.

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups