Lester Andrews of the University of Virginia is supported by a grant from the Experimental Physical Chemistry Program to continue his spectroscopic studies of laser ablation to obtain absorption spectra and vibrational frequencies of a series of transition metal complexes (positively and negatively charged and neutral) clustered with molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This is achieved using laser ablation of Ne matrices containing the appropriate species, with the spectra being obtained by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Spectroscopic identification will be achieved by isotopic substitution and theoretical calculations using density functional theory and comparisons will be made with the theoretical predictions. The work will establish, for example, whether the hydrogen is bound in molecular form or if it forms a di-hydride with the metal atom. Such species are involved in many important reactions in organometallic chemistry.
It has been suggested that it may be possible to grow carbon nanotubes using metal carbonyl clusters. Such clusters, and clusters with hydrogen, are involved in many organometallic ion reactions such as synthesis of ammonia. The properties of these clusters will be determined spectroscopically and compared with theoretical calculations.