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Quantum Chemical Characterization of Low-Lying Excited States of an Aryl Peroxycarbonate: Mechanistic Implications for Photodissociation

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-04-01, 00:00 authored by Seth Olsen, Dirk Schwarzer, Jürgen Troe, Sean C. Smith
Recent experiments have revealed the existence of an excited state dissociative mechanism for certain peroxycarbonates, with the demonstration that the lifetime of the excited state matches the picosecond time scale for appearance of nascent carbon dioxide product. The data infer that the photoreaction proceeds via an effectively concerted three-body dissociation within the lifetime of the singlet excited state. Many other arylperoxides decay sequentially via [(aryloxy)carbonyl]oxy radical intermediates on nanosecond−microsecond time scales. Uncertainty as to the lifetime of the excited state relates to the character and the relative energetic ordering of states of the parent molecule, since the spectra and photochemistry imply that low-lying states may exist on each of the aryl, carbonate, and peroxide chemical functionalities. We employ many-body electronic structure calculations to determine the energies and characters of the low-lying valence states of a minimal aryl peroxycarbonate model germane to the above-mentioned experiments, methyl phenyl peroxycarbonate (MPC). Our results indicate that the lowest-lying state is an intrinsically nondissociative aryl ππ* excited state. We identify additional low-lying states that are expected to be dissociative in nature and propose that the time scales observed for the dissociation reaction may correspond to the time scale for transfer of excited state population to these states.