Product branching ratios in photodissociation of phenyl radical: a theoretical ab initio/Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus study

J Chem Phys. 2012 Jun 21;136(23):234305. doi: 10.1063/1.4726455.


Ab initio CCSD(T)/CBS//B3LYP/6-311G** calculations of the potential energy surface for possible dissociation channels of the phenyl radical are combined with microcanonical Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus calculations of reaction rate constants in order to predict statistical product branching ratios in photodissociation of c-C(6)H(5) at various wavelengths. The results indicate that at 248 nm the photodissociation process is dominated by the production of ortho-benzyne via direct elimination of a hydrogen atom from the phenyl radical. At 193 nm, the statistical branching ratios are computed to be 63.4%, 21.1%, and 14.4% for the o-C(6)H(4) + H, l-C(6)H(4) ((Z)-hexa-3-ene-1,5-diyne) + H, and n-C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) products, respectively, in a contradiction with recent experimental measurements, which showed C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) as the major product. Although two lower energy pathways to the i-C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) products are identified, they appeared to be kinetically unfavorable and the computed statistical branching ratio of i-C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) does not exceed 1%. To explain the disagreement with experiment, we optimized conical intersections between the ground and the first excited electronic states of C(6)H(5) and, based on their structures and energies, suggested the following photodissociation mechanism at 193 nm: c-C(6)H(5) 1 → absorption of a photon → electronically excited 1 → internal conversion to the lowest excited state → conversion to the ground electronic state via conical intersections at CI-2 or CI-3 → non-statistical decay of the vibrationally excited radical favoring the formation of the n-C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) products. This scenario can be attained if the intramolecular vibrational redistribution in the CI-2 or CI-3 structures in the ground electronic state is slower than their dissociation to n-C(4)H(3) + C(2)H(2) driven by the dynamical preference.