Recombination, Solvation and Reaction of CN Radicals Following Ultraviolet Photolysis of ICN in Organic Solvents

Philip Coulter, Michael P. Grubb, Daisuke Koyama, Igor V. Sazanovich, Gregory M. Greetham, Andrew J. Orr-Ewing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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The fates of CN radicals produced by ultraviolet (UV) photolysis of ICN in various organic solvents have been examined by transient electronic and vibrational absorption spectroscopy (TEAS and TVAS). Near-UV and visible bands in the TEAS measurement enable direct observation of the CN radicals and their complexes with the solvent molecules. Complementary TVAS measurements probe the products of CN-radical reactions. Geminate recombination to form ICN and INC is a minor pathway on the 150 fs -1300 ps time scales of our experiments in the chosen organic solvents; nonetheless, large infrared transition dipole moments permit direct observation of INC that is vibrationally excited in the C≡N stretching mode. The time constants for INC vibrational cooling range from 30 ps in tetrahydrofuran (THF) to 1400 ps in more weakly interacting solvents such as chloroform. The major channel for CN removal in the organic solvents is reaction with solvent molecules, as revealed by depletion of solvent absorption bands and growth of product bands in the TVA spectra. HCN is a reaction product of hydrogen atom abstraction in most of the photoexcited solutions, and forms with vibrational excitation in both the C-H and C≡N stretching modes. The vibrational cooling rate of the C≡N stretch in HCN depends on the solvent, and follows the same trend as the cooling rate of the C≡N stretch in INC. However, in acetonitrile solution an additional reaction pathway produces C3H3N2 radicals, which release HCN on a much longer time scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12911-12923
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015


  • Time-Resolved Absorption Spectroscopy
  • Liquid Phase
  • Solvent Complexes
  • Recombination
  • Reaction Dynamics


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