High-resolution sub-Doppler infrared spectroscopy of atmospherically relevant Criegee precursor CH2I radicals: CH2 stretch vibrations and "charge-sloshing" dynamics

The combination of a pulsed supersonic slit-discharge source and single-mode difference frequency direct absorption infrared spectroscopy permit first high resolution infrared study of the iodomethyl (CH2I) radical, with the CH2I radical species generated in a slit jet Ne/He discharge and cooled to 16 K in the supersonic expansion. Dual laser beam detection and collisional collimation in the slit expansion yield sub-Doppler linewidths (60 MHz), an absolute frequency calibration of 13 MHz, and absorbance sensitivities within a factor of two of the shot-noise limit. Fully rovibrationally resolved direct absorption spectra of the CH2 symmetric stretch mode (ν2) are obtained and fitted to a Watson asymmetric top Hamiltonian with electron spin-rotation coupling, providing precision rotational constants and spin-rotation tensor elements for the vibrationally excited state. Analysis of the asymmetric top rotational constants confirms a vibrationally averaged planar geometry in both the ground- and first-excited vibrational levels. Sub-Doppler resolution permits additional nuclear spin hyperfine structures to be observed, with splittings in excellent agreement with microwave measurements on the ground state. Spectroscopic data on CH2I facilitate systematic comparison with previous studies of halogen-substituted methyl radicals, with the periodic trends strongly correlated with the electronegativity of the halogen atom. Interestingly, we do not observe any asymmetric CH2 stretch transitions, despite S/N ≈ 25:1 on strongest lines in the corresponding symmetric CH2 stretch manifold. This dramatic reversal of the more typical 3:1 antisymmetric/symmetric CH2 stretch intensity ratio signals a vibrational transition moment poorly described by simple “bond-dipole” models. Instead, the data suggest that this anomalous intensity ratio arises from “charge sloshing” dynamics in the highly polar carbon-iodine bond, as supported by ab initio electron differential density plots and indeed consistent with observations in other halomethyl radicals and protonated cluster ions.
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The Journal of Chemical Physics
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