Pressure dependence of stabilized Criegee intermediate formation from a sequence of alkenes

J Phys Chem A. 2011 May 5;115(17):4381-7. doi: 10.1021/jp2001089. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


Ozonolysis is a key reaction in atmospheric chemistry, although important details of the behavior of the ozonolysis intermediates are not known. The key intermediate in ozonolysis, the Criegee intermeiate (CI), is known to quickly isomerize, with the favored unimolecular pathway depending on the relative barriers to isomerization. Stabilized Criegee intermediates (SCI), those with energy below any barriers to isomerization, may result from initial formation with low energy or collisional stabilization of high energy CI. Bimolecular reactions of SCI have been proposed to play a role in OH formation and nucleation of new particles, but unimolecular reactions of SCI may well be too fast for these to be significant. We present measurements of the pressure dependence of SCI formation for a set of alkenes utilizing a hexafluoroacetone scavenger. We studied four alkenes (2,3-dimethyl-2-butene (TME), trans-5-decene, cyclohexene, α-pinene) to characterize how size and cyclization (endo vs exo) affect the stability of Criegee intermediates formed in ozonolysis. SCI yields in ozonolysis were measured in a high pressure flow reactor within a range of 30-750 Torr. The linear alkenes show considerable stabilization with trans-5-decene showing 100% stabilization at ∼400 Torr and TME having 65% stabilization at 710 Torr. Extrapolation of the yields for linear alkenes to 0 Torr shows yields significantly above zero, indicating that a fraction of their CI are formed below the barrier to isomerization. CI from endocyclic alkenes show little to no stabilization and appear to have neglible stabilization at 0 Torr. Cyclohexene derived CI showed no stabilization even at 650 Torr, while α-pinene CI had ∼15% stabilization at 740 Torr. Our results show a strong dependence of SCI formation on carbon number; adding just 2 to 3 CI carbons in linear alkenes increases stabilization by a factor of 10. Stabilization for endocyclic alkenes, at atmospheric pressure, begins to occur at a carbon number of 10, with only modest yields of SCI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetone / chemical synthesis*
  • Acetone / chemistry
  • Alkenes / chemistry*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Ozone / chemistry*
  • Pressure


  • Alkenes
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Acetone
  • Ozone