School of Chemistry - Research Publications

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    An ion mobility mass spectrometer coupled with a cryogenic ion trap for recording electronic spectra of charged, isomer-selected clusters
    Buntine, JT ; Carrascosa, E ; Bull, JN ; Jacovella, U ; Cotter, MI ; Watkins, P ; Liu, C ; Scholz, MS ; Adamson, BD ; Marlton, SJP ; Bieske, EJ (AIP Publishing, 2022-04-01)
    Infrared and electronic spectra are indispensable for understanding the structural and energetic properties of charged molecules and clusters in the gas phase. However, the presence of isomers can potentially complicate the interpretation of spectra, even if the target molecules or clusters are mass-selected beforehand. Here, we describe an instrument for spectroscopically characterizing charged molecular clusters that have been selected according to both their isomeric form and their mass-to-charge ratio. Cluster ions generated by laser ablation of a solid sample are selected according to their collision cross sections with helium buffer gas using a drift tube ion mobility spectrometer and their mass-to-charge ratio using a quadrupole mass filter. The mobility- and mass-selected target ions are introduced into a cryogenically cooled, three-dimensional quadrupole ion trap where they are thermalized through inelastic collisions with an inert buffer gas (He or He/N2 mixture). Spectra of the molecular ions are obtained by tagging them with inert atoms or molecules (Ne and N2), which are dislodged following resonant excitation of an electronic transition, or by photodissociating the cluster itself following absorption of one or more photons. An electronic spectrum is generated by monitoring the charged photofragment yield as a function of wavelength. The capacity of the instrument is illustrated with the resonance-enhanced photodissociation action spectra of carbon clusters (Cn +) and polyacetylene cations (HC2nH+) that have been selected according to the mass-to-charge ratio and collision cross section with He buffer gas and of mass-selected Au2 + and Au2Ag+ clusters.
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    Electronic spectra of positively charged carbon clusters-C-2n(+) (n=6-14)
    Buntine, JT ; Cotter, M ; Jacovella, U ; Liu, C ; Watkins, P ; Carrascosa, E ; Bull, JN ; Weston, L ; Muller, G ; Scholz, MS ; Bieske, EJ (AIP Publishing, 2021-12-07)
    Electronic spectra are measured for mass-selected C2n +(n = 6-14) clusters over the visible and near-infrared spectral range through resonance enhanced photodissociation of clusters tagged with N2 molecules in a cryogenic ion trap. The carbon cluster cations are generated through laser ablation of a graphite disk and can be selected according to their collision cross section with He buffer gas and their mass prior to being trapped and spectroscopically probed. The data suggest that the C2n +(n = 6-14) clusters have monocyclic structures with bicyclic structures becoming more prevalent for C22 + and larger clusters. The C2n + electronic spectra are dominated by an origin transition that shifts linearly to a longer wavelength with the number of carbon atoms and associated progressions involving excitation of ring deformation vibrational modes. Bands for C12 +, C16 +, C20 +, C24 +, and C28 + are relatively broad, possibly due to rapid non-radiative decay from the excited state, whereas bands for C14 +, C18 +, C22 +, and C26 + are narrower, consistent with slower non-radiative deactivation.
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    Action spectroscopy of deprotomer-selected hydroxycinnamate anions
    Bull, JN ; Buntine, JT ; Carrascosa, E ; Stockett, MH ; Bieske, EJ (SPRINGER, 2021-02-24)
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    Action spectroscopy of isomer-selected luciferin anions
    Kjaer, C ; Bull, JN ; Carrascosa, E ; Nielsen, SB ; Bieske, EJ (SPRINGER, 2021-03-01)
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    Photodissociation dynamics of N-3(+)
    Patra, S ; Veliz, JCSV ; Koner, D ; Bieske, EJ ; Meuwly, M (AIP Publishing, 2022-03-28)
    The photodissociation dynamics of N3 + excited from its (linear) 3Σg -/(bent) 3A″ ground to the first excited singlet and triplet states is investigated. Three-dimensional potential energy surfaces for the 1A', 1A″, and 3A' electronic states, correlating with the 1Δg and 3Πu states in linear geometry, for N3 + are constructed using high-level electronic structure calculations and represented as reproducing kernels. The reference ab initio energies are calculated at the MRCI+Q/aug-cc-pVTZ level of theory. For following the photodissociation dynamics in the excited states, rotational and vibrational distributions P(v') and P(j') for the N2 product are determined from vertically excited ground state distributions. Due to the different shapes of the ground state 3A″ potential energy surface and the excited states, appreciable angular momentum j' ∼ 60 is generated in diatomic fragments. The lifetimes in the excited states extend to at least 50 ps. Notably, results from sampling initial conditions from a thermal ensemble and from the Wigner distribution of the ground state wavefunction are comparable.
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    Photoisomerization of Linear and Stacked Isomers of a Charged Styryl Dye: A Tandem Ion Mobility Study
    Carrascosa, E ; Bull, JN ; Martinez-Nunez, E ; Scholz, MS ; Buntine, JT ; Bieske, EJ (AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2021-12-01)
    The photoisomerization behavior of styryl 9M, a common dye used in material sciences, is investigated using tandem ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) coupled with laser spectroscopy. Styryl 9M has two alkene linkages, potentially allowing for four geometric isomers. IMS measurements demonstrate that at least three geometric isomers are generated using electrospray ionization with the most abundant forms assigned to a combination of EE (major) and ZE (minor) geometric isomers, which are difficult to distinguish using IMS as they have similar collision cross sections. Two additional but minor isomers are generated by collisional excitation of the electrosprayed styryl 9M ions and are assigned to the EZ and ZZ geometric isomers, with the latter predicted to have a π-stacked configuration. The isomer assignments are supported through calculations of equilibrium structures, collision cross sections, and statistical isomerization rates. Photoexcitation of selected isomers using an IMS-photo-IMS strategy shows that each geometric isomer photoisomerizes following absorption of near-infrared and visible light, with the EE isomer possessing a S1 ← S0 electronic transition with a band maximum near 680 nm and shorter wavelength S2 ← S0 electronic transition with a band maximum near 430 nm. The study demonstrates the utility of the IMS-photo-IMS strategy for providing fundamental gas-phase photochemical information on molecular systems with multiple isomerizable bonds.
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    A strong cis-effect in an imidazole/imidazolium substituted alkene
    Georgiou, DC ; Haghighatbin, MA ; Hogan, CF ; Scholz, MS ; Bull, J ; Bieske, EJ ; Wilson, DJD ; Dutton, JL (John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2017-07-10)
    We report the first example of an alkene with two carbon‐bound substituents (imidazole and imidazolium rings) where the Z‐isomer has a greater thermodynamic stability than the E‐isomer which persists in both the gas phase and in solution. Theoretical calculations, solution fluorescence spectroscopy and gas‐phase ion mobility mass spectrometry studies confirm the preference for the Z‐isomer, the stability of which is traced to a non‐covalent interaction between the imidazole lone pair and the imidazolium ring.
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    Photoinitiated Intramolecular Proton Transfer in Deprotonated para-Coumaric Acid
    Bull, JN ; da Silva, G ; Scholz, MS ; Carrascosa, E ; Bieske, EJ (American Chemical Society, 2019-05-23)
    Deprotonated para-coumaric acid is commonly considered as a model for the chromophore in photoactive yellow protein, which undergoes E → Z isomerization following absorption of blue light. Here, tandem ion mobility mass spectrometry is coupled with laser excitation to study the photochemistry of deprotonated para-coumaric acid, to show that the E isomers of the phenoxide and carboxylate forms have distinct photochemical responses with maxima in their action spectra at 430 and 360 nm, respectively. The E isomer of the phenoxide anion undergoes efficient autodetachment upon excitation of its lowest ππ* transition. For the E isomer of the carboxylate deprotomer, a one-way photoinitiated proton transfer generates the phenoxide deprotomer through a mechanism postulated to involve an excited-state enol–keto tautomerism followed by a series of ground-state rearrangements including a second proton transfer. This mechanism is supported by experiments in which the relevant intermediate keto isomer is prepared and spectroscopically probed and through master equation modeling of possible ground-state isomerization processes. The Z isomer of the carboxylate deprotomer shows a weak Z → E photoisomerization response that occurs in competition with photodestruction (presumably electron detachment), demonstrating that the E and Z isomers undergo different processes in their excited states. The study highlights the utility of isomer-selective spectroscopy for characterizing the photochemistry of isolated anions possessing multiple deprotonation sites.
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    Ultrafast photoisomerisation of an isolated retinoid.
    Bull, JN ; West, CW ; Anstöter, CS ; da Silva, G ; Bieske, EJ ; Verlet, JRR (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019-05-28)
    The photoinduced excited state dynamics of gas-phase trans-retinoate (deprotonated trans-retinoic acid, trans-RA-) are studied using tandem ion mobility spectrometry coupled with laser spectroscopy, and frequency-, angle- and time-resolved photoelectron imaging. Photoexcitation of the bright S3(ππ*) ← S0 transition leads to internal conversion to the S1(ππ*) state on a ≈80 fs timescale followed by recovery of S0 and concomitant isomerisation to give the 13-cis (major) and 9-cis (minor) photoisomers on a ≈180 fs timescale. The sub-200 fs stereoselective photoisomerisation parallels that for the retinal protonated Schiff base chromophore in bacteriorhodopsin. Measurements on trans-RA- in methanol using the solution photoisomerisation action spectroscopy technique show that 13-cis-RA- is also the principal photoisomer, although the 13-cis and 9-cis photoisomers are formed with an inverted branching ratio with photon energy in methanol when compared with the gas phase, presumably due to solvent-induced modification of potential energy surfaces and inhibition of electron detachment processes. Comparison of the gas-phase time-resolved data with transient absorption spectroscopy measurements on retinoic acid in methanol suggest that photoisomerisation is roughly six times slower in solution. This work provides clear evidence that solvation significantly affects the photoisomerisation dynamics of retinoid molecules.
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    Photodetachment and photoreactions of substituted naphthalene anions in a tandem ion mobility spectrometer
    Bull, JN ; Buntine, JT ; Scholz, MS ; Carrascosa, E ; Giacomozzi, L ; Stockett, MH ; Bieske, EJ (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2019-07-01)
    Substituted naphthalene anions (deprotonated 2-naphthol and 6-hydroxy-2-naphthoic acid) are spectroscopically probed in a tandem drift tube ion mobility spectrometer (IMS). Target anions are selected according to their drift speed through nitrogen buffer gas in the first IMS stage before being exposed to a pulse of tunable light that induces either photodissociation or electron photodetachment, which is conveniently monitored by scavenging the detached electrons with trace SF6 in the buffer gas. The photodetachment action spectrum of the 2-naphtholate anion exhibits a band system spanning 380-460 nm with a prominent series of peaks spaced by 440 cm-1, commencing at 458.5 nm, and a set of weaker peaks near the electron detachment threshold corresponding to transitions to dipole-bound states. The two deprotomers of 6-hydroxy-2-naphthoic acid are separated and spectroscopically probed independently. The molecular anion formed from deprotonation of the hydroxy group gives rise to a photodetachment action spectrum similar to that of the 2-naphtholate anion with an onset at 470 nm and a maximum at 420 nm. Near the threshold, the photoreaction with SF6 is observed with displacement of an OH group by an F atom. In contrast, the anion formed from deprotonation of the carboxylic acid group gives rise to a photodissociation action spectrum, recorded on the CO2 loss channel, lying at much shorter wavelengths with an onset at 360 nm and maximum photoresponse at 325 nm.