High-resolution infrared spectroscopy of jet cooled CH2Br radicals: The symmetric CH stretch manifold and absence of nuclear spin cooling

Direct laser absorption of a slit supersonic discharge expansion provides the first high-resolution spectroscopic results on the symmetric CH stretch excitation (ν1) of the bromomethyl (CH2Br) radical in the ground electronic state. Narrowband (<1 MHz) mid-infrared radiation is produced by difference-frequency generation of two visible laser beams, with the open shell halohydrocarbon radical generated by electron dissociative attachment of CH2Br2 in a discharge and rapidly cooled to Trot = 18 ± 1 K in the subsequent slit-jet supersonic expansion. A rovibrational structure in the radical spectrum is fully resolved, as well as additional splittings due to spin-rotation effects and 79Br/81Br isotopologues in natural abundance. Spectroscopic constants and band origins are determined by fitting the transition frequencies to a non-rigid Watson Hamiltonian, yielding results consistent with a vibrationally averaged planar radical and an unpaired electron in the out-of-plane pπ orbital. Additionally, extensive satellite band structure from a vibrational hot band is observed and analyzed. The hot band data is compared to CFOUR/VPT2 (CCSD(T)cc-pVQZ) ab initio anharmonic predictions of the vibration rotation alpha matrix, which permits unambiguous assignment to CH2 symmetric-stretch excitation built on the singly excited CH2 out-of-plane bending mode (ν1 + ν4 ← ν4). Longitudinal cooling of the Doppler width in the slit-jet expansion geometry also reveals partially resolved hyperfine structure on transitions out of the lowest angular momentum states in excellent agreement with predictions based on microwave studies. High level ab initio MOLPRO calculations [CCSD(T)-f12b/VnZ-f12 (n = 3, 4, CBS)] are also performed with explicitly correlated f12 electron methods for the out-of-plane CH2 bending mode over the halogen series CH2X (X = F, Cl, Br, I), which clearly reveals a non-planar geometry for X = F (with a ΔE ≈ 0.3 kcal/mol barrier) and yet planar equilibrium geometries for X = Cl, Br, and I. Finally, a detailed Boltzmann analysis of the transition intensities provides support for negligible collisional equilibration of the entangled H atom nuclear spin states on the few hundred microsecond time scale and high collision densities of a slit supersonic expansion.
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The Journal of Chemical Physics
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