Initial vibrational level distribution of HCN[X̃1Σ+(v10v3)] from the CN(X2Σ+)+H2→HCN+H reaction

G. A. Bethardy*, F. J. Northrup, G. He, I. Tokue, R. Glen MacDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

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30 Scopus citations


The reaction of the cyano radical (CN) with hydrogen was studied by time-resolved infrared absorption spectroscopy of individual rovibrational states of HCN. The initial vibrational level distribution of HCN(v10v3) was determined by plotting the time dependence of the fractional population of a vibrational level and extrapolating these curves to the origin of time. The experiments were carried out at two temperatures, 293 and 324 K, with similar results. It was estimated that about 50% of the available reaction exothermicity was deposited as vibrational excitation of the HCN product. Surprisingly, the HCN(101) vibrational level received a significant fraction of the observed vibrational population, implying that the CN vibration was not really a spectator bond in the reaction dynamics. Furthermore, the observed HCN(v10v3) vibrations only account for about 27% of the initial HCN population produced in the title reaction. A significant fraction of the product HCN molecules must have been produced with the bending mode excited, likely in combination with the H-C stretch vibrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4224-4236
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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