Equilibrium structure in the presence of internal rotation: A case study of cis-methyl formate

J. Demaison, L. Margulès, I. Kleiner, A. G. Császár

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The Born-Oppenheimer (BO) equilibrium molecular structure (re BO) of cis-methyl formate has been determined at the CCSD(T) level of electronic structure theory using Gaussian basis sets of at least quadruple-ζ quality and a core correlation correction. The quadratic, cubic and semi-diagonal quartic force field in normal coordinates has also been computed at the MP2 level employing a basis set of triple-ζ quality. A semi-experimental equilibrium structure (re SE) has been derived from experimental ground-state rotational constants and the lowest-order rovibrational interaction parameters calculated from the ab initio cubic force field. To determine re SE structures, it is important to start from accurate ground-state rotational constants. Different spectroscopic methods, applicable in the presence of internal rotation and used in the literature to obtain "unperturbed" rotational constants from the analysis and fitting of the spectrum, are reviewed and compared. They are shown to be compatible though their precision may be different. The re BO and re SE structures are in good agreement showing that, in the particular case of cis-methyl formate, the methyl torsion can still be treated as a small-amplitude vibration. The best equilibrium structure obtained for cis-methyl formate is: r(Cm-O) = 1.434 Å, r(O-Cc) = 1.335 Å, r(Cm-Hs) = 1.083 Å, r(Cm-Ha) = 1.087 Å, r(Cc-H) = 1.093 Å, r(C{double bond, long}O) = 1.201 Å, ∠(COC) = 114.4°, ∠(CCHs) = 105.6°, ∠(CCHa) = 110.2°, ∠(OCH) = 109.6°, ∠(OCO) = 125.5°, and τ(HaCOC) = 60.3°. The accuracy is believed to be about 0.001 Å for the bond lengths and 0.1° for the angles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Spectroscopy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Ab initio
  • Equilibrium structure
  • Internal rotation
  • Methyl formate
  • Semi-experimental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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