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Anal Chem ; 93(32): 11268-11274, 2021 08 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34347440


Discrimination of isomers in a mixture is a subject of ongoing interest in biology, pharmacology, and forensics. We demonstrate that femtosecond time-resolved mass spectrometry (FTRMS) effectively quantifies mixtures of ortho-, para-, and meta-nitrotoluenes, the first two of which are common explosive degradation products. The key advantage of the FTRMS approach to mixture quantification lies in the ability of the pump-probe laser control scheme to capture distinct fragmentation dynamics of each nitrotoluene cation isomer on femtosecond timescales, thereby allowing for discrimination of the isomers using only the signal of the parent molecular ion at m/z 137. Upon measurement of reference dynamics of each individual isomer, the molar fractions of binary and ternary mixtures can be predicted to within ∼5 and ∼7% accuracy, respectively.

Lasers , Cátions , Isomerismo , Espectrometria de Massas
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 2021 Jun 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34096943


The electronic potential energy surfaces of the nitrobenzene cation obtained from time-dependent density functional theory and coupled cluster calculations are used to predict the most efficient excitation wavelength for femtosecond time-resolved mass spectrometry measurements. Both levels of theory identify a strongly-coupled transition from the ground state of the nitrobenzene cation with a geometry-dependent oscillator strength, reaching a maximum at 90° C-C-N-O dihedral angle with a corresponding energy gap of ∼2 eV. These results are consistent with the experimental observation in the nitrobenzene cation of a coherent superposition of vibrational states: a vibrational wave packet. Time-resolved measurements using a probe wavelength of 650 nm, nearly resonant with the strong transition, result in enhanced ion yield oscillation amplitudes as compared to excitation with the nonresonant 800 nm wavelength. Analogous behavior is found for the closely related molecules 2- and 4-nitrotoluene. These results demonstrate that computational chemistry can predict the best choice of probe wavelength in time-resolved measurements of vibrational coherent states in molecular cations.

J Phys Chem A ; 124(37): 7427-7438, 2020 Sep 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32841027


Dissociation pathways of singly- and multiply charged gas-phase nitromethane cations were investigated with strong-field laser photoionization mass spectrometry and density functional theory computations. There are multiple isomers of the singly charged nitromethane radical cation, several of which can be accessed by rearrangement of the parent CH3-NO2 structure with low energy barriers. While direct cleavage of the C-N bond from the parent nitromethane cation produces NO2+ and CH3+, rearrangement prior to dissociation accounts for fragmentation products including NO+, CH2OH+, and CH2NO+. Extensive Coulomb explosion in fragment ions observed at high laser intensity indicates that rapid dissociation of multiply charged nitromethane cations produces additional species such as CH2+, H+, and NO22+.  On the basis of analysis of Coulomb explosion in the mass spectral signals and pathway calculations, sufficiently intense laser fields can remove four or more electrons from nitromethane.