Ionization energies and ionization-induced structural changes in 2-phenylethylamine and its monohydrate

Yair Yifrach, Rami Rahimi, Joshua H. Baraban, Ilana Bar

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1 Scopus citations


We report the resonance-enhanced two-photon ionization combined with various detection approaches and quantum chemical calculations of biologically relevant neurotransmitter prototypes, the most stable conformer of 2-phenylethylamine (PEA), and its monohydrate, PEA-H2O, to reveal the possible interactions between the phenyl ring and amino group in the neutral and ionic species. Extracting the ionization energies (IEs) and appearance energy was achieved by measuring the photoionization and photodissociation efficiency curves of the PEA parent and photofragment ions, together with velocity and kinetic energy-broadened spatial map images of photoelectrons. We obtained coinciding upper bounds for the IEs for PEA and PEA-H2O of 8.63 ± 0.03 and 8.62 ± 0.04 eV, within the range predicted by quantum calculations. The computed electrostatic potential maps show charge separation, corresponding to a negative charge on phenyl and a positive charge on the ethylamino side chain in the neutral PEA and its monohydrate; in the cations, the charge distributions naturally become positive. The significant changes in geometries upon ionization include switching of the amino group orientation from pyramidal to nearly planar in the monomer but not in the monohydrate, lengthening of the N-H »π hydrogen bond (HB) in both species, Cα-Cβ bond in the side chain of the PEA+ monomer, and the intermolecular O-H »N HB in PEA-H2O cations, leading to distinct exit channels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114305
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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