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Internal dynamics of methyl p -tolyl sulfoxide in the gas phase: Rotational spectroscopy and theoretical studies

Abstract : A pure rotational spectrum of methyl p-tolyl sulfoxide (MTSO) was studied using chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy in the frequency range of 18–26 GHz. A single conformer was unambiguously observed in the supersonic jet expansion, which is consistent with the conformational analysis performed using quantum-chemical calculations. Rotational transitions were split into two components of A and E symmetries due to the low-barrier internal rotation of the ring methyl group [ V 3 = 11.0178(23) cm −1 ]. The low energy barrier for the methyl top internal rotation implies an electron-withdrawing effect of the group at the opposite side of the phenyl ring, in comparison with other para-substituted toluenes. The effective ground state ( r 0 ) geometry was derived using the rotational constants from the parent species and the 34 S and eight 13 C singly substituted isotopologues. Compared to two other sulfoxides, methyl phenyl sulfoxide and methyl 4-nitrophenyl sulfoxide, the sulfoxide group in MTSO is slightly more twisted with respect to the plane of the phenyl ring, which could be attributed to the moderate electron-donating effect of the p-methyl group. Furthermore, the pyramidal inversion that interconverts the handedness at the sulfur stereogenic center was explored in the electronic ground (S 0 ) and excited (S 1 ) states with nudged elastic band and time-dependent density functional theory methods. It was found that the pyramidal inversion in S 1 is easier than in S 0 , showing that optical excitation to S 1 will facilitate an effectively barrier-free inversion.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 5:30:00 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 3:44:11 AM

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Wenhao Sun, Isabelle Kleiner, Arne Senftleben, Melanie Schnell. Internal dynamics of methyl p -tolyl sulfoxide in the gas phase: Rotational spectroscopy and theoretical studies. Journal of Chemical Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2022, 156 (15), pp.154304. ⟨10.1063/5.0083534⟩. ⟨hal-03670807⟩

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