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Ground State Conformational Preferences and CH Stretch–Bend Coupling in a Model Alkoxy Chain: 1,2-Diphenoxyethane

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-19, 13:58 authored by Evan G. Buchanan, Edwin L. Sibert, Timothy S. Zwier
1,2-Diphenoxyethane (C6H5–O–CH2–CH2–O–C6H5, DPOE) is a flexible bichromophore in which the two phenyl rings are separated from one another by an −O–CH2–CH2–O– chain with five flexible dihedral angles about which hindered rotation can occur. As such, it is a phenyl capped analog of dimethoxyethane (DMOE), which has served as a model compound for development of force fields for polyethylene glycol (PEG). The ground state conformational energy landscape of DPOE is explored using a combination of single-conformation spectroscopy of the jet-cooled molecule and calculations of the conformational minima and transition states. In the experimental UV spectrum, ultraviolet hole-burning establishes the presence of just two conformations with significant population in the supersonic jet expansion. Fluorescence dip infrared (FDIR) spectroscopy is used to record infrared spectra of the two conformers in the alkyl CH stretch, CH bend, and CO stretch regions. When compared with harmonic vibrational frequency calculations, the two isomers are determined to be of C2h and C2 symmetry, and labeled ttt and tgt to denote the three central dihedrals as trans or gauche. Infrared population transfer spectroscopy is used to determine fractional abundances for the two conformers (fttt = 0.53 ± 0.01; ftgt =0.47 ± 0.01). Relaxed potential energy curves along the three nonequivalent dihedral angles are used to map out the shape of the potential energy landscape that leads to these preferences. The Fermi resonance in the alkyl CH stretch spectrum is successfully modeled using a recently developed methodology [Buchanan et al., J. Chem. Phys. 2013, 138, 064308] employing a reduced dimension Hamiltonian. The scissor overtones couple to the CH2 symmetric stretch and only indirectly to the asymmetric stretch through symmetric stretch/asymmetric stretch coupling. The presence of the oxygen atoms in the chain shifts the CH scissor overtones to higher frequencies than in pure alkyl chains, qualitatively changing the spectral consequences of the Fermi resonance, with the scissor overtones now appearing as the highest frequency bands in the spectrum. The spectra are contrasted with those in 1,2-diphenylethane, a close analog with a very different appearance to its CH stretch spectrum, in which the scissor overtones appear as the lowest frequency bands.