Title: Elementary reactions of the phenyl radical, C6H5, with C3H4 isomers, and of benzene, C6H6, with atomic carbon in extraterrestrial environments
Authors: Kaiser, RI ×
Vereecken, Luc
Peeters, Jozef
Bettinger, HF
Schleyer, PVR
Schaefer, HF #
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2003
Publisher: E d p sciences
Series Title: Astronomy & astrophysics vol:406 issue:2 pages:385-391
Abstract: Binary collisions of ground state carbon atoms, C(P-3(j)), with benzene, C6H6(X(1)A(1g)), and of phenyl radicals, C6H5(X(2)A(1)), with methylacetylene, CH3CCH(X(1)A(1)), were investigated in crossed beam experiments, ab initio calculations, and via RRKM theory to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of elementary reactions relevant to the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in extraterrestrial environments. The reactions of phenyl radicals with allene, H2CCCH2, and with cyclopropene, cyc-C3H4, as well as the reaction of benzyl radicals, C6H5CH2, with acetylene, HCCH, were also investigated theoretically. The C(P-3(j)) atom reacts with benzene via complex formation to a cyclic, seven membered C7H5 doublet radical plus atomic hydrogen. Since this pathway has neither an entrance nor an exit barrier and is exoergic, the benzene molecule can be destroyed by carbon atoms even in the coldest molecular clouds. On the other hand, the reaction of phenyl radicals with methylacetylene has an entrance barrier; at high collision energies, the dynamics are at the boundary between an osculating complex and a direct pathway. Statistical calculations on the phenyl plus methylacetylene reaction demonstrate dramatic energy/temperature dependencies: at lower temperatures, the bicyclic indene isomer is the sole reaction product. But as the temperature increases to 2000 K, formation of indene diminishes in favor of substituted acetylenes and allenes, such as PhCCH, PhCCCH3, PhCHCCH2, and PhCH2CCH. Also, direct H-abstraction channels become accessible, forming benzene and C3H3 radicals, including propargyl. Similar conclusions were reached for the reactions of phenyl radicals with the other C3H4 isomers, as well as for the benzyl + acetylene reaction. The strong temperature dependence emphasizes that distinct product isomers must be included in reaction networks modeling PAH formation in extraterrestrial environments.
ISSN: 0004-6361
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Quantum Chemistry and Physical Chemistry Section
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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