Enter the Matrix

My lab’s matrix IR apparatus is almost done, and naturally the guy I’m working with just had to have a baby. In the meantime, I get to watch over it and get things ready for our first target molecule, chlorosilylene. It is the silicon analogue of the one, the only chlorocarbene.

Herzberg was the first to investigate this molecule, having produced it in 1964 by flash photolysis of chlorosilane. As research on CVD intermediates picked up steam, a number of research groups obtained varied results on the extent to which chlorosilylene is produced during CVD. The Clouthier group, of which I am a humble member, revived spectroscopic studies of the radical by performing laser-induced fluoresence experiments on it in 1997. They obtained a whole slew of rotational constants, geometric parameters, and most importantly vibrational frequencies exhibited by the molecule. That’s right, a whole slew.

Our goal is to observe HSiCl’s ground-state vibrational frequencies directly by jolting trichlorosilane in an electric discharge and performing matrix IR.

Pictures of the apparatus to follow soon!

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