Spectroscopy of the XeC2 molecule in xenon, argon, and krypton matrices

Marcin Frankowski, Alice M. Smith-Gicklhorn, Vladimir E. Bondybey

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A self-igniting DC-electric discharge of C2H2 in Xe (matrix gas) or C2H2 and Xe in Ar or Kr (matrix gas) is used to produce and study the XeC2 molecule in these various rare gases at 12 K. Unlike in Ar and Kr, the well-known electronic spectra of C 2 is completely absent in a Xe matrix. This together with annealing experiments in Ar matrices indicate that ground state Xe and C2 react uniquely and without a barrier to form the XeC2 molecule. The IR-active C-C stretch of this compound is found to be close to the C-C stretching frequency of the C2 anion, in excellent agreement with our density functional theoretical (DFT) calculations, which yield a XeCC singlet species bent by 148.6° and with substantial charge separation approaching Xe+C2- and a notably short (2.107 Å) Xe-C bond. The spectra of the Xe-13C-12C, Xe- 12C-13C, and Xe-13C-13C species are also obtained and the isotopic shifts are in excellent agreement with the DFT predictions, although not sufficient to distinguish a bent from a linear structure. Numerous broad absorptions centered near 423 nm (in Xe) are observed, which are clearly due to the XeC2 molecule. Laser-induced fluorescence studies reveal a near-IR emission likely due to XeC2 but not yet understood. Infrared spectra in the Xe matrix reveal also formation of the HXeCCH molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-847
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Charge transfer compounds
  • Matrix-isolation spectroscopy
  • Rare gas compounds
  • Xenon-carbon bonds


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