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  1. The conformational preferences of pentyl- through decylbenzene are studied under jet-cooled conditions in the gas phase. Laser-induced fluorescence excitation spectra, fluorescence-dip infrared spectra in the alkyl CH stretch region, and Raman spectra are combined to provide assignments for the observed conformers. Density functional theory calculations at the B3LYP-D3BJ/def2TZVP level of theory provide relative energies and normal mode vibrations that serve as inputs for an anharmonic local mode theory introduced in earlier work on alkylbenzenes with n = 2–4. This model explicitly includes anharmonic mixing of the CH stretch modes with the overtones of scissors/bend modes of the CH 2 andmore » CH 3 groups in the alkyl chain, and is used to assign and interpret the single-conformation IR spectra. In octylbenzene, a pair of LIF transitions shifted -92 and -78 cm -1 from the all-trans electronic origin have unique alkyl CH stretch transitions that are fit by the local model to a g1g3g4 conformation in which the alkyl chain folds back over the aromatic ring π cloud. Its calculated energy is only 1.0 kJ mol -1 above the all-trans global minimum. This fold is at an alkyl chain length less than half that of the pure alkanes (n = 18), consistent with a smaller energy cost for the g1 dihedral and the increased dispersive interaction of the chain with the π cloud. Local site frequencies for the entire set of conformers from the local mode model show ‘edge effects’ that raise the site frequencies of CH 2(1) and CH 2(2) due to the phenyl ring and CH 2(n - 1) due to the methyl group. The g1g3g4 conformer also shows local sites shifted up in frequency at CH 2(3) and CH 2(6) due to interaction with the π cloud.« less
  2. Incorporation of the unnatural D-proline ( DP) stereoisomer into a polypeptide sequence is a typical strategy to encourage formation of β-hairpin loops because natural sequences are often unstructured in solution. Using conformation-specific IR and UV spectroscopy of cold (≈10 K) gas-phase ions, we probe the inherent conformational preferences of the DP and LP diastereomers in the protonated peptide [YAPAA+H] +, where only intramolecular interactions are possible. Consistent with the solution-phase studies, one of the conformers of [YA DPAA+H] + is folded into a charge-stabilized β-hairpin turn. However, a second predominant conformer family containing two sequential γ-turns is also identified, withmore » similar energetic stability. A single conformational isomer of the LP diastereomer, [YA LPAA+H] +, is found and assigned to a structure that is not the anticipated “mirror image” β-turn. Instead, the LP stereocenter promotes a cis-alanine–proline amide bond. The assigned structures contain clues that the preference of the DP diastereomer to support a trans-amide bond and the proclivity of LP for a cis-amide bond is sterically driven and can be reversed by substituting glycine for alanine in position 2, forming [YG LPAA+H] +. These results provide a basis for understanding the residue-specific and stereospecific alterations in the potential energy surface that underlie these changing preferences, providing insights to the origin of β-hairpin formation.« less
  3. An important initial step in the combustion of gasoline and diesel fuels is the abstraction of hydrogen from alkylbenzenes to form resonance-stabilized alkyl benzyl radicals. This work uses, for the first time, double resonance spectroscopy methods to explore the conformation-specific vibronic and infrared spectroscopy of the α-ethylbenzyl (αEtBz) and α-propylbenzyl (αPrBz) radicals. Local mode Hamiltonian modeling enables assignment of the alkyl CH stretch IR spectra, accounting for Fermi resonance that complicates aliphatic alkyl CH stretch IR spectroscopy. The ground state conformational preferences of the ethyl and propyl chains are changed from those in the alkylbenzenes themselves, with global minima occurringmore » for an in-plane orientation of the alkyl chain (trans) about its first dihedral angle (Φ f123, numbers are alkyl C atoms. C 1 is CH radical site). This in-plane structure is the only observed conformer for the α-EtBz radical, while two conformers, tt and tg' share this orientation at the first dihedral, but differ in the second (Φ 1234) for the αPrBz radical. The in-plane orientation lowers the local site frequencies of the CH 2 group stretches immediately adjacent to the benzylic radical site by about 50 cm -1 relative to those in pure alkyl chains or alkylbenzenes. This effect of the radical site is localized on the first CH 2 group, with little effect on subsequent members of the alkyl chain. In the D 1 excited electronic state, an out-of-plane orientation is preferred for the alkyl chains, leading to torsional mode Franck-Condon activity in the D 0-D 1 spectra that is both conformer-specific and diagnostic of the conformational change.« less
  4. Using standard hardware available in chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave (CP-FTMW) spectroscopy, an experimental method is introduced to selectively extract from the microwave spectrum of an otherwise complicated multicomponent mixture a set of transitions due to a single component, thereby speeding spectral assignment. The method operates the broadband chirped-pulse used to excite the sample in the strong-field limit through a combination of high power and control of the sweep rate. A procedure is introduced that leads to selection of three transition frequencies that can be incorporated as a set of resonant sequential single-frequency microwave pulses that follow broadband chirped-pulse excitation, resultingmore » in a reduction in the coherent signal from a set of transitions ascribable to the component of interest. The difference in the CP-FTMW spectrum with and without this set of multi-resonant single-frequency pulses produces a set of transitions that can confidently be assigned to a single component of the mixture, aiding the analysis of its spectrum. In conclusion, the scheme is applied to (i) selectively extract the spectrum of one of five singly 13C-subsituted isotopologues of benzonitrile in natural abundance, (ii) obtain the microwave spectra of the two structural isomers (E)- and (Z)-phenylvinylnitrile, and (iii) obtain conformer-specific microwave spectra of methylbutyrate.« less
  5. In this paper, conformation-specific UV-IR double resonance spectra are presented for ethyl, n-propyl, and n-butylbenzene. With the aid of a local mode Hamiltonian that includes the effects of stretch-scissor Fermi resonance, the spectra can be accurately modeled for specific conformers. These molecules allow for further development of a first principles method for calculating alkyl stretch spectra. Across all chain lengths, certain dihedral patterns impart particular spectral motifs at the quadratic level. However, the anharmonic contributions are consistent from molecule to molecule and conformer to conformer. This transferability of anharmonicities allows for the Hamiltonian to be constructed from only a harmonicmore » frequency calculation, reducing the cost of the model. Finally, the phenyl ring alters the frequencies of the CH 2 stretches by about 15 cm -1 compared to their n-alkane counterparts in trans configurations. Conformational changes in the chain can lead to shifts in frequency of up to 30 cm -1.« less

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