Anne McCoy, University of Washington
Protonated methane (CHS+) has intrigued chemists for several decades. It was first detected by Tal'roze and Lyubimova in the early 1950's, and since then several groups have sought to obtain and assign an infrared spectrum of CHS+ as well as to understand it's structure. Bonding five hydrogen atoms to carbon results in a molecule with 120 (5!) equivalent structures. Unlike more typical organic molecules, the barriers that separate these structures are as low as 4 kJ mol-1 and the zero-point level has nearly equal probability amplitude at all 120 minima as well as 180 transition states that separate these minima!
In this talk I will discuss work in our group to understand the structure of CHS+ as well as possible spectral consequences of the very delocalized structure. I will also describe methods we use to explore questions of structure and spectra in a molecule that does not have a simple equilibrium structure. Finally, we will explore how deuteration may be the key to understanding and spectroscopy of CHS+.
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