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J Phys Chem A. 2008 Aug 21;112(33):7489-91. doi: 10.1021/jp803152g. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

The photochemistry of formaldehyde: internal conversion and molecular dissociation in a single step?


A novel, nonadiabatic reaction path for H2 + CO molecular dissociation of formaldehyde via an extended S1/S0 conical intersection seam has been mapped out using the CAS-SCF method with a full valence active space (10 electrons, 9 orbitals). Two conical intersection geometries have been optimized, CsCoIn, a saddle point in the intersection space, and C1CoIn, which is the lowest-energy crossing point. A minimum-energy path connecting these points along a seam has also been characterized. In addition to the conventional and "roaming-atom" mechanisms--where internal conversion takes place before ground-state dissociation--we suggest that a strictly nonadiabatic mechanism can operate, where internal conversion and dissociation take place in concert.

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