Autoionization from the plasmon resonance in isolated 1-cyanonaphthalene

James N. Bull, Paola Bolognesi, Cate S. Anstöter, Eleanor K. Ashworth, José E. Navarro Navarrete, Boxing Zhu, Robert Richter, Nitish Pal, Jacopo Chiarinelli, Lorenzo Avaldi, Henning Zettergren, Mark H. Stockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have widely been conjectured to be ubiquitous in space, as supported by the recent discovery of two isomers of cyanonaphthalene, indene, and 2-cyanoindene in the Taurus molecular cloud-1 using radioastronomy. Here, the photoionization dynamics of 1-cyanonaphthalene (1-CNN) are investigated using synchrotron radiation over the hν = 9.0–19.5 eV range, revealing that prompt autoionization from the plasmon resonance dominates the photophysics for hν = 11.5–16.0 eV. Minimal photo-induced dissociation, whether originating from an excited state impulsive bond rupture or through internal conversion followed by a statistical bond cleavage process, occurs over the microsecond timescale (as limited by the experimental setup). The direct photoionization cross section and photoelectron angular distributions are simulated using an ezDyson model combining Dyson orbitals with Coulomb wave photoejection. When considering these data in conjunction with recent radiative cooling measurements on 1-CNN+, which showed that cations formed with up to 5 eV of internal energy efficiently stabilize through recurrent fluorescence, we conclude that the organic backbone of 1-CNN is resilient to photodestruction by VUV and soft XUV radiation. These dynamics may prove to be a common feature for the survival of small polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in space, provided that the cations have a suitable electronic structure to support recurrent fluorescence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number241101
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023

Cite this