Insights into the unusual barrierless reaction between two closed shell molecules, (CH 3) 2S + F 2, and its H 2S + F 2 analogue: Role of recoupled pair bonding

Jeff Leiding, David E. Woon, Thom H. Dunning

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Early flowtube studies showed that (CH 3) 2S (DMS) reacted very rapidly with F 2; hydrogen sulfide (H 2S), however, did not. Recent crossed molecular beam studies found no barrier to the reaction between DMS and F 2 to form CH 2S(F)CH 3 + HF. At higher collision energies, a second product channel yielding (CH 3) 2S-F + F was identified. Both reaction channels proceed through an intermediate with an unusual (CH 3) 2S-F-F bond structure. Curiously, these experimental studies have found no evidence of direct F 2 addition to DMS, resulting in (CH 3) 2SF 2, despite the fact that the isomer in which both fluorines occupy axial positions is the lowest energy product. We have characterized both reactions, H 2S + F 2 and DMS + F 2, with high-level ab initio and generalized valence bond calculations. We found that recoupled pair bonding accounts for the structure and stability of the intermediates present in both reactions. Further, all sulfur products possess recoupled pair bonds with CH 2S(F)CH 3 having an unusual recoupled pair bond dyad involving π bonding. In addition to explaining why DMS reacts readily with F 2 while H 2S does not, we have studied the pathways for direct F 2 addition to both sulfide species and found that (for (CH 3) 2S + F 2) the CH 2S(F)CH 3 + HF channel dominates the potential energy surface, effectively blocking access to F 2 addition. In the H 2S + F 2 system, the energy of the transition state for formation of H 2SF 2 lies very close to the H 2SF + F asymptote, making the potential pathway a roaming atom mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5247-5255
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 31 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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