- Laboratory Infrared Spectroscopy of Gaseous Negatively Charged Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons
- Astrophysical Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 787 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
Based largely on infrared spectroscopic evidence, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules are now widely accepted to occur abundantly in the interstellar medium. Laboratory infrared spectra have been obtained for a large variety of neutral and cationic PAHs, but data for anionic PAHs are scarce. Nonetheless, in regions with relatively high electron densities and low UV photon fluxes, PAHs have been suggested to occur predominantly as negatively charged ions (anions), having substantial influence on cloud chemistry. While some matrix spectra have been reported for radical anion PAHs, no data is available for even-electron anions, which are more stable against electron detachment. Here we present the first laboratory infrared spectra of deprotonated PAHs ([PAH - H](-)) in the wavelength ranges between 6 and 16 mu m and around 3 mu m. Wavelength-dependent infrared multiple-photon electron detachment is employed to obtain spectra for deprotonated naphthalene, anthracene, and pyrene in the gas phase. Spectra are compared with theoretical spectra computed at the density functional theory level. We show that the relative band intensities in different ranges of the IR spectrum deviate significantly from those of neutral and positively charged PAHs, and moreover from those of radical anion PAHs. These relative band intensities are, however, well reproduced by theory. An analysis of the frontier molecular orbitals of the even- and odd-electron anions reveals a high degree of charge localization in the deprotonated systems, qualitatively explaining the observed differences and suggesting unusually high electric dipole moments for this class of PAH molecules.
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