UV photolysis of 4-iodo-, 4-bromo-, and 4-chlorophenol: Competition between C-Y (Y = halogen) and O-H bond fission

Alan G. Sage, Tom A A Oliver, Graeme A. King, Daniel Murdock, Jeremy N. Harvey, Michael N. R. Ashfold*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Abstract

The wavelength dependences of C–Y and O–H bond fission following ultraviolet photoexcitation of 4-halophenols (4-YPhOH) have been investigated using a combination of velocity map imaging, H Rydberg atom photofragment translational spectroscopy, and high level spin-orbit resolved electronic structure calculations, revealing a systematic evolution in fragmentation behaviour across the series Y = I, Br, Cl (and F). All undergo O–H bond fission following excitation at wavelengths λ ≲ 240 nm, on repulsive ((n/π)σ*) potential energy surfaces (PESs), yielding fast H atoms with mean kinetic energies ∼11 000 cm−1. For Y = I and Br, this process occurs in competition with prompt C–I and C–Br bond cleavage on another (n/π)σ* PES, but no Cl/Cl* products unambiguously attributable to one photon induced C–Cl bond fission are observed from 4-ClPhOH. Differences in fragmentation behaviour at longer excitation wavelengths are more marked. Prompt C–I bond fission is observed following excitation of 4-IPhOH at all λ ≤ 330 nm; the wavelength dependent trends in I/I* product branching ratio, kineticenergy release, and recoil anisotropy suggest that (with regard to C–I bond fission) 4-IPhOH behaves like a mildly perturbed iodobenzene. Br atoms are observed when exciting 4-BrPhOH at long wavelengths also, but their velocity distributions suggest that dissociation occurs after internal conversion to the ground state. O–H bond fission, by tunnelling (as in phenol), is observed only in the cases of 4-FPhOH and, more weakly, 4-ClPhOH. These observed differences in behaviour can be understood given due recognition of (i) the differences in the vertical excitation energies of the C–Y centred (n/π)σ* potentials across the series Y = I < Br < Cl and the concomitant reduction in C–Y bond strength, cf. that of the rival O–H bond, and (ii) the much increased spin-orbit coupling in, particularly, 4-IPhOH. The present results provide (another) reminder of the risks inherent in extrapolating photochemical behaviour measured for one molecule at one wavelength to other (related) molecules and to other excitation energies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164318
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume138
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2013

Keywords

  • METHYL-IODIDE
  • ULTRAVIOLET PHOTODISSOCIATION
  • SPECTROSCOPY
  • 266 NM
  • EXCITED-STATES
  • CHLOROBENZENE
  • PLANE VIBRATIONAL MODES
  • CONICAL INTERSECTIONS
  • ULTRAFAST DYNAMICS
  • MULTIPHOTON IONIZATION

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