Infrared Spectra and Quantum Chemical Calculations of the Uranium Carbide Molecules UC and CUC with Triple Bonds

Laser evaporation of carbon-rich uranium/carbon alloys followed by atom reactions in a solid argon matrix and trapping at 8 K gives weak infrared absorptions for CUO at 852 and 804 cm−1. A new band at 827 cm−1 becomes a doublet with mixed carbon 12 and 13 isotopes and exhibits the 1.0381 isotopic frequency ratio, which is appropriate for the UC diatomic molecule, and another new band at 891 cm−1 gives a three-band mixed isotopic spectrum with the 1.0366 isotopic frequency ratio, which is characteristic of the linear CUC molecule. CASPT2 calculations with dynamical correlation find the CUC ground state as linear 3Σu+ with 1.840 Å bond length and molecular orbital occupancies for an effective bond order of 2.83. Similar calculations with spin-orbit coupling show that the UC diatomic molecule has a quintet (Λ = 5, Ω = 3) ground state, a similar 1.855 Å bond length, and a fully developed triple bond of 2.82 effective bond order.