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Electron-Driven Acid-Base Chemistry: Proton Transfer from Hydrogen Chloride to Ammonia

Soren N. Eustis, Dunja Radisic, Kit H. Bowen, Rafał A. Bachorz, Maciej Haranczyk, Gregory K. Schenter and Maciej Gutowski
Science
New Series, Vol. 319, No. 5865 (Feb. 15, 2008), pp. 936-939
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20053375
Page Count: 4
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Electron-Driven Acid-Base Chemistry: Proton Transfer from Hydrogen Chloride to Ammonia
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Abstract

In contrast to widely familiar acid-base behavior in solution, single molecules of NH₃ and HCl do not react to form the ionic salt, NH₄⁺Cl⁻, in isolation. We applied anion photoelectron spectroscopy and ab initio theory to investigate the interaction of an excess electron with the hydrogen-bonded complex $\text{NH}_{3}\cdots \text{HCl}$ . Our results show that an excess electron induces this complex to form the ionic salt. We propose a mechanism that proceeds through a dipole-bound state to form the negative ion of ionic ammonium chloride, a species that can also be characterized as a deformed Rydberg radical, NH₄, polarized by a chloride anion, Cl⁻.

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