Crossed molecular beam study on the formation of phenylacetylene and its relevance to Titan's atmosphere

J Phys Chem A. 2010 Apr 29;114(16):5256-62. doi: 10.1021/jp912054p.


The crossed molecular beam experiment of the deuterated ethynyl radical (C(2)D; X(2)Sigma(+)) with benzene [C(6)H(6)(X(1)A(1g))] and its fully deuterated analog [C(6)D(6)(X(1)A(1g))] was conducted at a collision energy of 58.1 kJ mol(-1). Our experimental data suggest the formation of the phenylacetylene-d(6) via indirect reactive scattering dynamics through a long-lived reaction intermediate; the reaction is initiated by a barrierless addition of the ethynyl-d(1) radical to benzene-d(6). This initial collision complex was found to decompose via a tight exit transition state located about 42 kJ mol(-1) above the separated products; here, the deuterium atom is ejected almost perpendicularly to the rotational plane of the decomposing intermediate and almost parallel to the total angular momentum vector. The overall experimental exoergicity of the reaction is shown to be 121 +/- 10 kJ mol(-1); this compares nicely with the computed reaction energy of -111 kJ mol(-1). Even though the experiment was conducted at a collisional energy higher than equivalent temperatures typically found in the atmosphere of Titan (94 K and higher), the reaction may proceed in Titan's atmosphere as it involves no entrance barrier, all transition states involved are below the energy of the separated reactants, and the reaction is exoergic. Further, the phenylacetylene was found to be the sole reaction product.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylene / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acetylene / chemical synthesis
  • Acetylene / chemistry
  • Atmosphere / chemistry*
  • Extraterrestrial Environment / chemistry*
  • Saturn*
  • Temperature
  • Thermodynamics


  • phenylacetylene
  • Acetylene