Ultrafast non-linear time-resolved spectroscopy : application to the structural study of polyatomic molecules and clusters

  • A new experimental setup, for pump-probe fs DFWM measurements, which is based on a femtosecond laser system, has been constructed. It allows for the investigation of molecular species in the gas phase at different temperatures, from ~30 K in a seeded supersonic jet up to ~500 K in a heat-pipe oven. In comparison to other RCS methods the employed fs DFWM technique is less complicated and gives much higher signal-to-noise ratio [BFZ86, FeZ95a, CKS89, CCH90, HCF91, WRM02, Rie02]. A general computer code for the simulation of fs DFWM spectra of nonrigid asymmetric top molecules has been developed. This new DFWM code in combination with a non-linear fitting routine allows one to determine rotational and centrifugal distortion constants and obtain information on the polarizability tensor components from the experimental spectra. Fs DFWM spectroscopy was successfully applied to the medium-sized molecules benzene and benzene-d6 in a gas cell and in a supersonic jet. The spectrum from a seeded expansion has been measured up to delay time of 3.9 ns (restricted by the length of the delay stage) with excellent signal-to-noise ratio (102-103). In that way 87 and 72 J-type transients have been recorded for benzene and benzene-d6, correspondingly. A relative accuracy on the order of 10-5 has been achieved for the rotational constant. From the room temperature experiments, precise values of centrifugal distortion constants DJ and DJK have been extracted. The literature data for cyclohexane have been revised and a new precise rotational constant B0 has been obtained, which is (+5.5 MHz) shifted from the one reported in the former Raman investigation by Peters et al. [PWW73]. Additionally, high-level ab initio calculations of cyclohexane have been carried out using a large number of basis sets at several levels of theory. In particular, the vibrational averaging effects have been examined in order to critically compare the experimentally determined and theoretically evaluated rotational constants. The contribution of highly symmetric vibrational modes to vibrational averaging effects was clarified. More structural information could be obtained from fs DFWM measurements of asymmetric top species, since different type of rotational recurrences can appear, and all three rotational constants (A, B, C) can be extracted. On the other hand the analysis of the asymmetric top spectra is no longer trivial. In fact the simple formula for rotational recurrence periods of symmetric top species (Tab. 2.1) can not be applied to asymmetric top molecules. Thus, in order to extract high-resolution data for asymmetric species, a complete fitting of the experimental spectra is necessary. The fs DFWM and (1+2') PPI method have been applied to the asymmetric top molecules pyridine in the ground (S0) and pDFB in the S0 and electronically excited (S1) states. By fitting the measured fs DFWM spectra the rotational and centrifugal distortion constants have been extracted with good precision and the value of the parametrized polarizability angle of pDFB was obtained. In this work, the first application of fs DFWM spectroscopy to a molecular cluster has been reported. Also, the chemical equilibrium between monomeric and dimeric species was studied. In particular formic and acetic acid have been investigated in a gas cell and in a supersonic expansion. Many spectral features have been observed and analized in the fs DFWM spectrum of formic acid vapor in a gas cell at room temperature. Most of them were attributed to rotational recurrences of the formic acid monomer, but also spectral feature originating from the formic acid dimer of O-H×××O/O×××H-O type have been detected and analyzed. From the fitted simulation, the rotational and centrifugal distortion constants, and parametrized polarizability angle were extracted for the dimeric structure of O-H×××O/O×××HO type. With the assumption of unperturbed monomers a center-of-mass distance of R = 2.990 ± 0.001 Å for the monomers within the dimer has been calculated from the spectroscopic results. This distance is 0.028 Å smaller than that reported from electron diffraction [ABM69]. Thus, the centers-of-mass distance was assigned as the main point of disagreement between results of fs DFWM and electron diffraction experiments. In contrast to formic acid, acetic acid shows strong recurrences from dimeric species even in the fs DFWM spectra at room temperature. This is explained in terms of different symmetry of the moments-of-inertia tensor, which modulates the intensity of RRs (the fs DFWM signal is in general stronger from symmetric species). Due to the symmetric nature of the acetic acid dimer, only the sum (B+C) of the rotational constants has been extracted. The changes of geometrical parameters upon dimer formation have been analyzed for, both, formic and acetic acid. A heat-pipe oven has been used in order to overcome the main drawback of fs DFWM spectroscopy – the square dependence of the signal intensity on the sample number density. Two-ring molecules (cyclohexylbenzene, para-cyclohexylaniline and nicotine) with low vapor pressure (<0.1 mbar) at room temperature have been investigated. From the analysis of the experimental and ab-initio results for CHB and pCHA a nearly perpendicular conformation of the aromatic vs. cyclohexane ring for both system is inferred. The enlargement of the benzene ring of CHB in the electronically excited state (S1) has been found to cause the smaller rotational constants in S1. This conclusion has been drawn from the comparison of the ground and electronically excited state experimental rotational constants in combination with ab-initio calculations. The extraction of precise structural information for nicotine was not possible due to it weak fs DFWM signal. However, the fact that fs DFWM technique can be applied to conformational analysis of molecular species in an equilibrium mixture opens other applications for this kind of spectroscopy. In general the results obtained in this work show that the fs DFWM technique, being an experimental implementation of RCS, provides one with an important tool for structural analysis of molecular species in the gas phase in particular for the species to which microwave spectroscopy can not be applied. It gives spectra with excellent signal-to-noise ratio even at low number density samples expanded in a seeded supersonic jet. It provides an alternative and innovative approach towards rotational Raman spectroscopy of large polyatomic molecules applicable under various experimental conditions (broad temperature and pressure range). With the introduction of femtosecond (10-15s) laser pulses (usually picosecond (10-12s) laser pulses were used in RCS) an improvement in time-resolution and therefore in precision for the rotational constants by more than one order of magnitude has been achieved. Molecular systems in the ground electronic state without permanent dipole moment and chromophore can be studied with high precision, providing thereby molecular benchmark systems for the electronic structure theory. As has been shown, the study of molecular clusters by fs DFWM spectroscopy is possible, but its potential are restricted by the square dependence of the fs DFWM signal from the sample number density, which is even more important for supersonic jet expansions. Here, the application of near-resonant and resonant FWM schemes should help in order to compensate for the low sample concentration. With the introduction of the heat pipe oven for fs DFWM experiments, the investigation of large nonvolatile molecules under equilibrium conditions is possible now. In our laboratory the first results on the structural analysis of different conformers of pyrrolidine in the gas phase have been obtained [MaR04]. This method can have even more prospects for the structural investigations of large molecular species in combination with new non-thermal gas phase sources for nonvolatile molecules, like laser desorption [CTL89], laser oblation [MHL83], electrospray [FMM90], laser induced liquid beam ion desorption [KAB96, Sob00] etc. A very recent application of the fs DFWM technique is the investigation of the influence of strong laser fields on molecular gas phase sample, which could range from active alignment [PPB03] over molecular deformation to field ionization [CSD03]. In regards to future development in fs DFWM spectroscopy for more complex molecules one has to take into account, how large amplitude motions such as the van der Waals vibrations or internal rotation (see section 6.4.2) affect the rotational coherences. In any case, femtosecond Degenerate Four-Wave Mixing as experimental implementation of Rotational Coherence Spectroscopy can be considered as an innovative, developing, and powerful method for the structural investigation of the molecular species, which are hard to study by classical frequency-resolved spectroscopy [FeZ95a, Dan01, Rie02].
  • In der vorliegenden Arbeit wird nicht-lineare Femtosekunden pump-probe Laserspektroskopie zur strukturellen Untersuchung von mittelgroßen und großen Molekülen und molekularen Aggregaten benutzt. Die dazu verwendete Methode, nämlich das Femtosekunden zeitaufgelöste entartete Vierwellenmischen (femtosecond degenerate four-wave mixing, fs DFWM), liefert Spektren, genauer: transiente Zeitspuren, aus denen präzise Rotationskonstanten, Zentrifugalverzerrungs-Konstanten sowie Informationen über den Tensor der Polarisierbarkeit des entsprechenden molekularen Systems erhalten werden. Zusätzlich sind diese Spektren abhängig von der Temperatur und dem Druck. Die verwendete Methodik stellt das Analogon zur Rotations-Raman-Spektroskopie in der Zeitdomäne dar und kann im größeren Rahmen der Rotationskohärenz-Spektroskopie (rotational coherence spectroscopy, RCS) zugeordnet werden. RCS-Methoden basieren auf der direkten Bestimmung von charakteristischen Roatationszeiten und sind insbesondere auf große und komplexe molekulare Systeme anwendbar, bei denen Methoden in der Frequenzdomäne, aufgrund der hohen spektralen Liniendichte, problematisch werden. Im Allgemeinen zeigen die Ergebnisse dieser Arbeit, dass die fs DFWM Methodik, als spezifische Realisierung von RCS, ein wichtiges spektroskopisches Werkzeug für die strukturelle Analyse isolierter molekularer Systeme darstellt, insbesondere für Spezies auf die die Mikrowellen-Spektroskopie nicht anwendbar ist. Es ergeben sich Spektren mit exzellentem Signal-zu-Rausch-Verhältnis, sogar unter den Bedingungen niedriger Teilchenzahldichte wie sie in einer Überschalldüsenstrahlexpansion vorliegen. Die Methodik stellt einen innovativen Zugang zur Rotations-Raman-Spektroskopie für große Moleküle dar und ist in einem breiten Temperatur- und Druck-Bereich einsetzbar. Durch den Einsatz von Femtsekunden-Laserpulsen (10-15 s), im Gegensatz zu Pikosekunden-Pulsen (10-12 s) für herkömmliche RCS-Messungen, ergibt sich eine erhöhte Zeitauflösung und es konnte eine Steigerung der Genauigkeit der Rotationskonstanten von mehr als einer Größenordnung erreicht werden. Molekulare Systeme ohne permanentes Dipolmoment oder Chromophor können mit hoher Genauigkeit untersucht werden und molekulare Benchmark-Systeme für die elektronische Struktur-Theorie werden dadurch bereitgestellt.

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Author:Victor V. Matylitsky
Referee:C. Riehn
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2004/12/03
Year of first Publication:2004
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2004/09/23
Release Date:2004/12/03
Institutes:Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie / Biochemie und Chemie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie / 540 Chemie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht