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American Chemical Society

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Journal of Physical Chemistry : A

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Noncovalent forces such as hydrogen bonding, halogen bonding, π–π stacking, and C–H/π and C–H/O interactions hold the key to such chemical processes as protein folding, molecular self-assembly, and drug–substrate interactions. Invaluable insight into the nature and strength of these forces continues to come from the study of isolated molecular clusters. In this work, we report on a study of the isolated anisole–methane complex, where both C–H/π and C–H/O interactions are possible, using a combination of theory and experiments that include mass-selected two-color resonant two-photon ionization spectroscopy, two-color appearance potential (2CAP) measurements, and velocity mapped ion imaging (VMI). Using 2CAP and VMI, we derive the binding energies of the complex in ground, excited, and cation radical states. The experimental values from the two methods are in excellent agreement, and they are compared with selected theoretical values calculated using density functional theory and ab initio methods. The optimized ground-state cluster geometry, which is consistent with the experimental observations, shows methane sitting above the ring, interacting with anisole via both C–H/π and C–H/O interactions, and this dual mode of interaction is reflected in a larger ground-state binding energy as compared with the prototypical benzene–methane system.


Accepted version. Journal of Physical Chemistry : A, Vol. 123, No. 13 (March 12, 2019): 2874-2880. DOI. © 2019 American Chemical Society. Used with permission.

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