The entrance channel potentials of the prototypical polyatomic reaction family X + CH4 → HX + CH3 (X = F, Cl, Br, I) are investigated using anion photoelectron spectroscopy and high-level ab initio electronic structure computations. The pre-reactive van der Waals (vdW) wells of these reactions are probed for X = Cl, Br, I by photodetachment spectra of the corresponding X--CH4 anion complex. For F-CH4, a spin-orbit splitting (∼1310 cm-1) much larger than that of the F atom (404 cm-1) was observed, in good agreement with theory. This showed that in the case of the F-CH4 system the vertical transition from the anion ground state to the neutral potentials accesses a region between the vdW valley and transition state of the early-barrier F + CH4 reaction. The doublet splittings observed in the other halogen complexes are close to the isolated atomic spin-orbit splittings, also in agreement with theory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry