Simulation studies of the Cl- + CH3I SN2 nucleophilic substitution reaction: Comparison with ion imaging experiments

Jiaxu Zhang, Upakarasamy Lourderaj, Rui Sun, Jochen Mikosch, Roland Wester, William L. Hase

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In the previous work of Mikosch Science 319, 183 (2008)10.1126/science. 1150238, ion imaging experiments were used to study the Cl- CH 3I → ClCH3 I- reaction at collision energies Erel of 0.39, 0.76, 1.07, and 1.9 eV. For the work reported here MP2(fc)ECPd direct dynamics simulations were performed to obtain an atomistic understanding of the experiments. There is good agreement with the experimental product energy and scattering angle distributions for the highest three Erel, and at these energies 80 or more of the reaction is direct, primarily occurring by a rebound mechanism with backward scattering. At 0.76 eV there is a small indirect component, with isotropic scattering, involving formation of the pre- and post-reaction complexes. All of the reaction is direct at 1.07 eV. Increasing Erel to 1.9 eV opens up a new indirect pathway, the roundabout mechanism. The product energy is primarily partitioned into relative translation for the direct reactions, but to CH 3Cl internal energy for the indirect reactions. The roundabout mechanism transfers substantial energy to CH3Cl rotation. At E rel 0.39 eV both the experimental product energy partitioning and scattering are statistical, suggesting the reaction is primarily indirect with formation of the pre- and post-reaction complexes. However, neither MP2 nor BhandHECPd simulations agree with experiment and, instead, give reaction dominated by direct processes as found for the higher collision energies. Decreasing the simulation Erel to 0.20 eV results in product energy partitioning and scattering which agree with the 0.39 eV experiment. The sharp transition from a dominant direct to indirect reaction as Erel is lowered from 0.39 to 0.20 eV is striking. The lack of agreement between the simulations and experiment for Erel 0.39 eV may result from a distribution of collision energies in the experiment andor a shortcoming in both the MP2 and BhandH simulations. Increasing the reactant rotational temperature from 75 to 300 K for the 1.9 eV collisions, results in more rotational energy in the CH3Cl product and a larger fraction of roundabout trajectories. Even though a ClCH3-I- post-reaction complex is not formed and the mechanistic dynamics are not statistical, the roundabout mechanism gives product energy partitioning in approximate agreement with phase space theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114309
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 21 2013


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