It has recently been shown that the ester carbonyl stretching vibration can be used as a sensitive probe of local electrostatic field in molecular systems. To further characterize this vibrational probe and extend its potential applications, we studied the kinetics of chemical exchange between differently hydrogen-bonded (H-bonded) ester carbonyl groups of methyl acetate (MA) and ethyl acetate (EA) in methanol. We found that, while both MA and EA can form zero, one, or two H-bonds with the solvent, the population of the 2hb state in MA is significantly smaller than that in EA. Using a combination of linear and nonlinear infrared measurements and numerical simulations, we further determined the rate constants for the exchange between these differently H-bonded states. We found that for MA the chemical exchange reaction between the two dominant states (i.e., 0hb and 1hb states) has a relaxation rate constant of 0.14 ps-1, whereas for EA the three-state chemical exchange reaction occurs in a predominantly sequential manner with the following relaxation rate constants: 0.11 ps-1 for exchange between 0hb and 1hb states and 0.12 ps-1 for exchange between 1hb and 2hb states.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry