Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 115 (2011), pp 1100–1107.



Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society. Used by permission.


The energies of electron attachment associated with temporary occupation of the lower-lying virtual orbitals of cyanoacetic acid (CAA), proposed as a possible component of dye-sensitized solar cells, and its derivative methyl cyanoacetate (MCA) are measured in the gas phase with electron transmission spectroscopy (ETS). The corresponding orbital energies of the neutral molecule, supplied by B3LYP/6-31G(d) calculations and scaled using an empirically calibrated linear equation, are compared with the experimental vertical attachment energies (VAEs). The vertical and adiabatic electron affinities are also evaluated at the B3LYP/6-31+G(d) level as the anion/neutral total energy difference. Dissociative electron attachment spectroscopy (DEAS) is used to measure the total anion current as a function of the incident electron energy in the 0–4 eV energy range, and the negative fragments generated through the dissociative decay channels of the molecular anion are detected with a mass filter. In both compounds only two intense fragment anion currents are observed, that due to loss of a hydrogen atom from the molecular anion ([M – H]) and that due to formation of CN. In CAA the former signal displays a very sharp feature at 0.68 eV, assigned to a vibrational Feshbach resonance arising from coupling between a dipole bound anion state and a temporary σ* anion state.