Dynamics of energy flow from CH overtone excitations: Theoretical and experimental studies of CH3C≡CH

P. Hofmann*, R. B. Gerber, M. A. Ratner, L. C. Baylor, E. Weitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A study has been made of the vibrational energy flow mechanisms and time scales pertaining to the overtone stretch excitations of methyl and acetylenic CH stretches in propyne. Classical trajectories are used to interpret the experimental data for the overtone linewidths, as well as to analyze the role that individual modes play in determining energy flow. The full anharmonic potential surface for these calculations, including all modes, has been developed from spectroscopic and structural information, including the linewidth data. The principal results are: (1) The trajectory calculations show a localization transition, corresponding to a switch over from normal-mode behavior for CH3 excitations up to v ≅ 3 to a local-mode CH excitation within the CH3 moiety for excitations of v ≳ 6, with transition behavior for v = 4,5. (2) The acetylenic CH shows local-mode behavior from v = 1. Extremely long lifetimes are found for the excitations of this mode, and the trajectories indicate that the experimental width is predominantly rotational. (3) The rocking and deformation modes are dominant receiving modes in the relaxation of the methyl stretch. (4) A shorter lifetime is calculated for the v = 6 vs the v = 5 or v = 7 overtones of the methyl C-H stretch. Experimental results are qualitatively consistent with this prediction. The origin of this shorter lifetime is a band of resonances between the stretch excitation and combinations of rocking, deformation, and pseudorotation modes. (5) CH3 internal rotation figures importantly in the relaxation of some levels (v = 5, 8 of CH3) where it "closes the energy gap" for achieving resonant energy transfer. (6) For v = 8 of the methyl CH, some direct energy transfer to both C-C≡C stretching modes is seen. The switching on of the stretches as receiving modes is a consequence of sufficiently strong interactions between the excited H and the C-C≡C chain, which take place at these high vibrational energies. (7) Evidence is found for long distance "through-space" energy transfer due to long-range dipole-dipole forces. This transfer occurs from the acetylenic to the methyl CH stretches. This result is illustrated for the v = 2 excitation of the acetylenic hydrogen, and constitutes a direct demonstration of intramolecular long-distance, through-space v-v energy transfer. These results demonstrate the potential importance of large amplitude modes such as rocking and deformation as initial receiving modes for vibrational energy from excited CH overtones. On the time scale probed here (∼1 ps), despite the availability of many degrees of freedom, the transfer process is dominated by specific energy transfer channels and by the specific behavior of individual modes, rather than by statistical considerations, which will certainly prevail on longer time scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7434-7447
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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