Ultrafast Electron Diffraction: Structural Dynamics of Molecular Rearrangement in the NO Release from Nitrobenzene
Nitro compounds release NO, NO_2, and other species, but neither the structures during the reactions nor the time scales are known. Ultrafast electron diffraction (UED) allowed the study of the NO release from nitrobenzene, and the molecular pathways and the structures of the transient species were identified. It was observed, in contrast to previous inferences, that nitric oxide and phenoxyl radicals are formed dominantly and that the time scale of formation is 8.8±2.2 ps. The structure of the phenoxyl radical was determined for the first time, and found to be quinoid-like. The mechanism proposed involves a repulsive triplet state, following intramolecular rearrangement. This efficient generation of NO may have important implications for the control of by-products in drug delivery and other applications.