Document Type


Publication Date



Microwave spectra in the 7-26 MHz region have been measured for the van der Waals complexes, Ar-C H3 C H2 C H3, Ar- C13 H3 C H2 C H3, Ne20 -C H3 C H2 C H3, and Ne22 -C H3 C H2 C H3. Both a - and c -type transitions are observed for the Ar-propane complex. The c -type transitions are much stronger indicating that the small dipole moment of the propane (0.0848 D) is aligned perpendicular to the van der Waals bond axis. While the 42 transition lines observed for the primary argon complex are well fitted to a semirigid rotor Hamiltonian, the neon complexes exhibit splittings in the rotational transitions which we attribute to an internal rotation of the propane around its a inertial axis. Only c -type transitions are observed for both neon complexes, and these are found to occur between the tunneling states, indicating that internal motion involves an inversion of the dipole moment of the propane. The difference in energy between the two tunneling states within the ground vibrational state is 48.52 MHz for Ne20 -C H3 C H2 C H3 and 42.09 MHz for Ne22 -C H3 C H2 C H3. The Kraitchman substitution coordinates of the complexes show that the rare gas is oriented above the plane of the propane carbons, but shifted away from the methylene carbon, more so in Ne propane than in Ar propane. The distance between the rare gas atom and the center of mass of the propane, Rcm, is 3.823 Ã… for Ar-propane and 3.696 Ã… for Ne-propane. Ab initio calculations are done to map out segments of the intermolecular potential. The global minimum has the rare gas almost directly above the center of mass of the propane, and there are three local minima with the rare gas in the plane of the carbon atoms. Barriers between the minima are also calculated and support the experimental results which suggest that the tunneling path involves a rotation of the propane subunit. The path with the lowest effective barrier is through a C2v symmetric configuration in which the methyl groups are oriented toward the rare gas. Calculating the potential curve for this one-dimensional model and then calculating the energy levels for this potential roughly reproduces the spectral splittings in Ne-propane and explains the lack of splittings in Ar-propane.


© 2007 the authors. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Journal of Chemical Physics



Included in

Chemistry Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.