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Theoretical Study of the Fragmentation Pathways of Norbornane in Its Doubly Ionized Ground State

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journal contribution
posted on 25.10.2007, 00:00 by Stefan Knippenberg, Balázs Hajgató, Jean-Pierre François, Michael S. Deleuze
The potential energy surface of norbornane in its dicationic singlet ground state has been investigated in detail using density functional theory along with the nonlocal hybrid and gradient-corrected Becke three-parameter Lee−Yang−Parr functional (B3LYP) and the cc-pVDZ basis set. For the sake of more quantitative insight into the chemical reactions induced by double ionization of norbornane, this study was supplemented by a calculation of basic thermodynamic state functions coupled to a focal point analysis of energy differences obtained using correlation treatments and basis sets of improving quality, enabling an extrapolation of these energy differences at the CCSD(T) level in the limit of an asymptotically complete (cc-pV∞Z) basis set. Our results demonstrate the likelihood of an ultrafast intramolecular rearrangement of the saturated hydrocarbon cage after a sudden removal of two electrons into a kinetically metastable five-membered cyclic C5H8+CH+CH3 intermediate, prior to a Coulomb explosion into C5H7+CH2 and CH3+ fragments, which might explain a tremendous rise of electron-impact (e, 2e) ionization cross sections at electron binding energies around the double-ionization threshold. The first step is straightforward and strongly exothermic (ΔH298 = −114.0 kcal mol-1). The second step is also exothermic (ΔH298 = −10.2 kcal mol-1) but requires an activation enthalpy (ΔH298) of 39.7 kcal/mol. The various factors governing the structure of this intermediate, such as electrostatic interactions, inductive effects, cyclic strains, and methylenic hyperconjugation interactions, are discussed in detail.