Water-catalyzed O-H insertion/HI elimination reactions of isodihalomethanes (CH2X-I, where X = Cl, Br, I) with water and the dehalogenation of dihalomethanes in water-solvated environments

Xufeng Lin, Xiangguo Guan, Wai Ming Kwok, Cunyuan Zhao, Yong Du, Yun Liang Li, David Lee Phillips

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A combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the ultraviolet photolysis of CH2XI (where X = Cl, Br, I) dihalomethanes in water is presented. Ultraviolet photolysis of low concentrations of CH2XI (where X = Cl, Br, I) in water appears to lead to almost complete conversion into CH2(OH)2and HX and HI products. Picosecond time-resolved resonance Raman (ps-TR3) spectroscopy experiments revealed that noticeable amounts of CH2X-I isodihalomethane intermediates were formed within several picoseconds after photolysis of the CH2XI parent compound in mixed aqueous solutions. The ps-TR3experiments in mixed aqueous solutions revealed that the decay of the CH2X-I isodihalomethane intermediates become significantly shorter as the water concentration increases, indicating that the CH2X-I intermediates may be reacting with water. Ab initio calculations found that the CH2X-I intermediates are able to react relatively easily with water via a water-catalyzed O-H insertion/HI elimination reaction to produce CH2X(OH) and HI products, with the barrier for these reactions increasing as X changes from Cl to Br to I. The ab initio calculations also found that the CH2X(OH) product can undergo a water-catalyzed HX elimination reaction to make H2C=O and HX products, with the barrier to reaction decreasing as X changes from Cl to Br to I. The preceding two water-catalyzed reactions produce the HI and HX leaving groups observed experimentally, and the H2C=O product further reacts with water to make the other CH2(OH)2product observed in the photochemistry experiments. This suggests that that the CH2X-I intermediates react with water to form the CH2(OH)2and HI and HX products observed in the photochemistry experiments. Ultraviolet photolysis of CH2XI (where X = Cl, Br, I) at low concentrations in water-solvated environments appears to lead to efficient dehalogenation and release of two strong acid leaving groups. We very briefly discuss the potential influence of this photochemistry in water on the decomposition of polyhalomethanes and halomethanols in aqueous environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-998
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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