American Chemical Society
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Electron Localization in Liquid Acetonitrile

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journal contribution
posted on 2002-08-30, 00:00 authored by I. A. Shkrob, M. C. Sauer
Time-resolved one- and two-pulse laser dc photoconductivity has been used to observe two kinds of reducing species, anion-1 and anion-2, in liquid acetonitrile. At 25 °C, the standard enthalpy of conversion from anion-1 to anion-2 is −44.3 ± 3.6 kJ/mol and the conversion time is ∼3 ns. The high-temperature form, anion-1, absorbs in the IR and migrates >3.3 times faster than any other ion in acetonitrile. This rapid migration has a low activation energy of 3.2 kJ/mol (vs ∼7.6 kJ/mol for other ions). Anion-1 rapidly transfers the electron to acceptors with high electron affinity, with rate constant up to 1011 M-1 s-1. The low-temperature form, anion-2, absorbs in the visible and exhibits normal mobility and electron-transfer rates, ca. 1.5 × 1010 M-1 s-1. It reacts, by proton transfer, with two hydrogen-bonded molecules of water and/or aliphatic alcohols. Laser photoexcitation of these two solvent anions in their respective absorption bands leads to the formation of CH3 and CN-. We present arguments indicating that anion-2 is a dimer radical anion of acetonitrile, whereas anion-1 is a multimer radical anion that may be regarded as a “solvated electron”.