Femtosecond infrared studies of the dissociation and dynamics of transition metal carbonyls in solution

Tianquan Lian, Steven E. Bromberg, Matthew C. Asplund, Haw Yang, C. B. Harris

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The ultrafast dynamics of the dissociation of M(CO)6 (M = Cr, W, Mo) in alkane solutions were studied by femtosecond IR spectroscopy. After UV photolysis at 295 nm, both the bleach of the parent molecules and the absorption of the pentacarbonyl intermediate were probed with 240 fs time resolution. Oscillatory perturbed free induction decay signals before t = 0 were observed and well characterized by realistic parameters of the system. The bleach recovery dynamics were found to be wavelength dependent, indicating that hot parent molecules are formed and that the bleach recovery time is determined by the vibrational cooling time. The measured percentage bleach recovery in n-heptane is less than the expected value calculated from the photosubstitution quantum yield measurements, suggesting that the initial recovery of the bleach is faster than our time resolution. The kinetics in the Ai vibrational mode region of the pentacarbonyl species have been measured to probe the formation and decay of the nascent product. The absorption of the product rises with an instrument response limited rate indicating that the formation of the product is much faster than 240 fs. The long time kinetics in this region reflect the vibrational cooling of the product. A fast decay with time constant of less than 300 fs is present in all the wavelengths probed, and its spectrum appears to resemble the early time spectrum of the hot pentacarbonyl species. This fast decay, observed in all three different metal carbonyls, is attributed to the fast geminate recombination of the pentacarbonyl with photodissociated CO ligand after only one to two collisions with the solvent cage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11994-12001
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of physical chemistry
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 18 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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