Picosecond real time study of the bimolecular reaction O(3P)+C2H4 and the unimolecular photodissociation of CH3CHO and H2CO

Osama K. Abou-Zied*, J. Douglas McDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The bimolecular reaction of O(3P) with ethylene and the unimolecular photodissociation of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde have been studied using a picosecond pump/probe technique. The bimolecular reaction was initiated in a van der Waals dimer precursor, C2H4̇NO2, and the evolution of the vinoxy radical product monitored by laser-induced fluorescence. The NO2 constituent of the complex was photodissociated at 266 nm. The triplet oxygen atom then attacks a carbon atom of C2H4 to form a triplet diradical (CH2CH2O) which subsequently dissociates to vinoxy (CH2CHO) and H. The rise time of vinoxy radical production was measured to be 217 (+75-25) ps. RRKM theory was applied and a late high exit barrier was invoked in order to fit the measured rise time. The structure and binding energy of the van der Waals complex have been modeled using Lennard-Jones type potentials and the results were compared with other systems. The unimolecular side of the potential energy surfaces of this reaction has been investigated by photodissociating acetaldehyde at the same pump energy of 266 nm. The resulting photoproducts, acetyl radical (CH3CO) and formyl radical (HCO), have been monitored by resonance enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) combined with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The similarity in the measured evolution times of both radicals indicates the same photodissociation pathway of the parent molecule. The photodissociation rate of acetaldehyde is estimated from RRKM theory to be very fast (3×1012s-1). The T1←S1 intersystem crossing (ISC) rate is found to be the rate determining step to photodissociation and increases with energy. The REMPI mechanism for the production of CH3CO+ is proposed to be the same as that of HCO+(2+1). The HCO product from the photodissociation of formaldehyde at 266 nm reveals a faster T1←S1 ISC rate than in acetaldehyde.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1301
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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