American Chemical Society
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Gas-Phase Spectroscopic Signatures of Carboxylate–Li+ Contact Ion Pairs: New Benchmarks For Characterizing Ion Pairing in Solution

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-03-15, 00:00 authored by Sana Habka, Valérie Brenner, Michel Mons, Eric Gloaguen
The coexistence of several types of ion pairs in solution together with their elusive nature hampers their experimental characterization, which relies in practice on theoretical models resorting to numerous approximations. In this context, a series of isolated contact ion pairs between a lithium cation and phenyl-tagged carboxylate anions of various lengths (Ph-(CH2)n-COO, n = 1–3) has been investigated in a conformer-selective manner by IR and UV laser spectroscopy, in conjunction with quantum chemistry calculations. The typical gas-phase IR signature of the bidentate structure formed between the carboxylate moiety and Li+ has thus been obtained in the CO2 stretch region. In addition to the cation–anion interaction, a cation−π interaction occurs simultaneously in the largest system investigated (n = 3). The resulting distorted ion pair structure has been evidenced from both the IR signature of the CO2 stretches and the unique vibrationally resolved UV spectroscopy of a phenyl ring interacting with a cation. Such specific spectroscopic signatures of contact ion pairs provide experimental benchmarks, alternative to theoretical predictions, that can assist the assignment of vibrational spectra in solution.