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Bridging Electrochemistry and Photoelectron Spectroscopy in the Context of Birch Reduction: Detachment Energies and Redox Potentials of Electron, Dielectron, and Benzene Radical Anion in Liquid Ammonia

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posted on 2022-11-28, 22:26 authored by Tatiana Nemirovich, Vojtech Kostal, Jakub Copko, H. Christian Schewe, Soňa Boháčová, Tomas Martinek, Tomas Slanina, Pavel Jungwirth
Birch reduction is a time-proven way to hydrogenate aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzene), which relies on the reducing power of electrons released from alkali metals into liquid ammonia. We have succeeded to characterize the key intermediates of the Birch reduction processthe solvated electron and dielectron and the benzene radical anionusing cyclic voltammetry and photoelectron spectroscopy, aided by electronic structure calculations. In this way, we not only quantify the electron binding energies of these species, which are decisive for the mechanism of the reaction, but also use Birch reduction as a case study to directly connect the two seemingly unrelated experimental techniques.

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