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Title: Dimers of acetic acid in helium nanodroplets.
Authors: Davies, JA
Hanson-Heine, MWD
Besley, NA
Shirley, A
Trowers, J
Yang, S
Ellis, AM
First Published: 29-Oct-2018
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Citation: Phys Chem Chem Phys, 2018
Abstract: The structural arrangement of small carboxylic acid molecules in the liquid phase remains a controversial topic. Some studies indicate a dominance of the cyclic dimer that prevails in the gas phase, whilst other studies favor short fragments of the infinite catemer chains that are found in the crystalline phase. Furthermore, difficulties in preparing and probing size-selected catemer segments have resulted in a lack of benchmark data upon which theoretical models of the condensed phases can be built. To address these issues, we have combined infrared spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations to explore regions of the intermolecular potential energy surface associated with the formation of metastable dimer isomers. The OH stretching region of the spectrum shows that aggregation of acetic acid molecules inside liquid helium nanodroplets yields two distinct metastable dimers, whilst negligible signal is observed from the cyclic dimer that typically overwhelms this spectral region. We deduce that the most abundant isomer in superfluid helium has one strong O-HO[double bond, length as m-dash]C and one weak C-HO[double bond, length as m-dash]C hydrogen bond. Since this bonding motif is common to the dimeric repeating unit of the catemer, it is of fundamental importance for understanding intermolecular interactions in the condensed phases of small carboxylic acids.
DOI Link: 10.1039/c8cp05934a
eISSN: 1463-9084
Embargo on file until: 29-Oct-2019
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2018, Royal Society of Chemistry. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 12 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Chemistry

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