Chemical dynamics simulations of X- + CH3Y → XCH3 + Y- gas-phase S(N)2 nucleophilic substitution reactions. Nonstatistical dynamics and nontraditional reaction mechanisms.

Research paper by Paranjothy P Manikandan, Jiaxu J Zhang, William L WL Hase

Indexed on: 09 Feb '12Published on: 09 Feb '12Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry A


Extensive classical chemical dynamics simulations of gas-phase X(-) + CH(3)Y → XCH(3) + Y(-) S(N)2 nucleophilic substitution reactions are reviewed and discussed and compared with experimental measurements and predictions of theoretical models. The primary emphasis is on reactions for which X and Y are halogen atoms. Both reactions with the traditional potential energy surface (PES), which include pre- and postreaction potential energy minima and a central barrier, and reactions with nontraditional PESs are considered. These S(N)2 reactions exhibit important nonstatistical atomic-level dynamics. The X(-) + CH(3)Y → X(-)---CH(3)Y association rate constant is less than the capture model as a result of inefficient energy transfer from X(-)+ CH(3)Y relative translation to CH(3)Y rotation and vibration. There is weak coupling between the low-frequency intermolecular modes of the X(-)---CH(3)Y complex and higher frequency CH(3)Y intramolecular modes, resulting in non-RRKM kinetics for X(-)---CH(3)Y unimolecular decomposition. Recrossings of the [X--CH(3)--Y](-) central barrier is important. As a result of the above dynamics, the relative translational energy and temperature dependencies of the S(N)2 rate constants are not accurately given by statistical theory. The nonstatistical dynamics results in nonstatistical partitioning of the available energy to XCH(3) +Y(-) reaction products. Besides the indirect, complex forming atomic-level mechanism for the S(N)2 reaction, direct mechanisms promoted by X(-) + CH(3)Y relative translational or CH(3)Y vibrational excitation are possible, e.g., the roundabout mechanism.