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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2022

Gas-phase spectroscopy of photostable PAH ions from the mid- to far-infrared


We present gas-phase InfraRed Multiple Photon Dissociation (IRMPD) spectroscopy of cationic phenanthrene, pyrene, and perylene over the 100-1700 cm-1 (6-95 μm) spectral range. This range covers both local vibrational modes involving C-C and C-H bonds in the mid-IR, and large-amplitude skeletal modes in the far-IR. The experiments were done using the 7T Fourier-Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometer integrated in the Free-Electron Laser for Intra-Cavity Experiments (FELICE), and findings were complemented with Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculated harmonic and anharmonic spectra, matching the experimental spectra well. The experimental configuration that enables this sensitive spectroscopy of the strongly bound, photoresistant Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) over a wide range can provide such high photon densities that even combination modes with calculated intensities as low as 0.01 km mol-1 near 400 cm-1 (25 μm) can be detected. Experimental frequencies from this work and all currently available IRMPD spectra for PAH cations were compared to theoretical frequencies from the NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic Database to verify predicted trends for far-IR vibrational modes depending on PAH shape and size, and only a relatively small redshift (6-11 cm-1) was found between experiment and theory. The absence of spectral congestion and the drastic reduction in bandwidth with respect to the mid-IR make the far-IR fingerprints viable candidates for theoretical benchmarking, which can aid in the search for individual large PAHs in the interstellar medium.
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insu-03867378 , version 1 (23-11-2022)





Sandra D. Wiersma, Alessandra Candian, Joost M. Bakker, Annemieke Petrignani. Gas-phase spectroscopy of photostable PAH ions from the mid- to far-infrared. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2022, 516, pp.5216-5226. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stac2627⟩. ⟨insu-03867378⟩
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