Contrasting Efficiency of Electron-Induced Reaction at Cu(110) in Aliphatic and Aromatic Bromides

Journal Of The American Chemical Society 142, 20, 9453 - 9459 (2020)

Contrasting Efficiency of Electron-Induced Reaction at Cu(110) in Aliphatic and Aromatic Bromides

Matthew J. Timm, Lydie Leung, Kelvin Anggara, Tingbin Lim, Zhixin Hu, Simone Latini, Angel Rubio, John C. Polanyi

We report a comparative study of the electron-induced reaction of pentyl bromide (PeBr) and phenyl bromide (PhBr) on Cu(110) at 4.6 K, observed by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The induced dissociation of the intact adsorbed molecule for both reagents occurred at an energy of 2.0 eV, producing a hydrocarbon radical and a Br atom. Electron-induced C–Br bond dissociation was found to be a single-electron process for both reagents. The impulsive two-state (I2S) model was used to describe the Br atom recoil as due to molecular excitation to a repulsive anti-bonding state, in which recoil of the dissociation products occurred due to C·Br repulsion along the prior C–Br bond direction. The measured reaction yield was 3 orders of magnitude greater for PeBr, 2.0 × 10–7 reactive events per electron, than for PhBr with a yield of 1.7 × 10–10. The low yield of dissociation products from the aromatic PhBr was attributed to the presence of two additional anionic states below the 2.0 eV energy limit, absent for the aliphatic PeBr; these additional anionic states for PhBr could provide a pathway for electron transfer to the surface in the case of the aromatic, but not the aliphatic, anion. The consequent shorter lifetime of the repulsive aromatic anion of PhBr is consistent with the observation of shorter mean recoil distance (3.2 Å) of its Br dissociation product, as compared with the markedly longer recoil (8.7 Å) of Br observed from the anion of PeBr.

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This work was funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the University of Toronto NSERC General Research Fund. Theoretical calculations were performed on the General Purposed Cluster (GPC) and Niagara at SciNet HPC Consortium. SciNet is funded by the Canada foundation for innovation under the auspices of Compute Canada, the Government of Ontario, Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence and the University of Toronto. K.A. thanks the Connaught International Scholarship for Doctoral Students for financial support. A.R. acknowledges support by the European Research Council (ERC-2015-AdG-694097) and Grupos Consolidados (IT1249-19). S.L. acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation.

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