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Internal Rotation and Spin Conversion of CH3OH in Solid para-Hydrogen

Science  20 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5759, pp. 365-368
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121300

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Abstract

The quantum solid para-hydrogen (p-H2) has recently proven useful in matrix isolation spectroscopy. Spectral lines of compounds embedded in this host are unusually narrow, and several species have been reported to rotate in p-H2. We found that a p-H2 matrix inhibits rotation of isolated methanol (CH3OH) but still allows internal rotation about the C–O bond, with splittings of the E/A torsional doublet in internal rotation–coupled vibrational modes that are qualitatively consistent with those for CH3OH in the gaseous phase. This simplified high-resolution spectrum further revealed the slow conversion of nuclear spin symmetry from species E to species A in the host matrix, offering potential insight into nuclear spin conversion in astrophysical sources.

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