Electron-driven acid-base chemistry: Proton transfer from hydrogen chloride to ammonia

Soren N. Eustis, Dunja Radisic, Kit H. Bowen, Rafa A. Bachorz, Maciej Haranczyk, Gregory K. Schenter, Maciej Gutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to widely familiar acid-base behavior in solution, single molecules of NH3 and HCl do not react to form the ionic salt, NH 4+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 NH3?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, NH 4, polarized by a chloride anion, Cl-.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-939
Number of pages4
Issue number5865
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2008


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