Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences

First Advisor

Balint Sztaray

First Committee Member

Qinliang Zhao

Second Committee Member

Michael McCallum

Third Committee Member

Joseph Harrison

Fourth Committee Member

Guillermo Barro


The dissociative photoionization reactions of two small, oxygenated organics, namely 1,3-dioxolane and methyl vinyl ketone, were studied by photoelectron photoion coincidence (PEPICO) spectroscopy. Experiments involving 1,3-dioxolane were carried out in the photon energy range of 9.5‒13.5 eV. The statistical thermodynamics model shows that a total of six dissociation channels are involved in the formation of three fragment ions, namely C3H5O2+ (m/z 73), C2H5O+ (m/z 45) and C2H4O+ (m/z 44), with two channels contributing to the formation of each. By comparing the results of ab initio quantum chemical calculations to the experimentally derived appearance energies of the fragment ions, the most likely mechanisms for these unimolecular dissociation reactions are proposed, including a description of the relevant parts of the potential energy surface.In the case of methyl vinyl ketone, an important atmospheric intermediate in the oxidation of isoprene, between 9.5‒13.8 eV four main fragment ions were detected at m/z 55, 43, 42, and 27 aside from the parent ion at m/z 70. The m/z 55 fragment ion (C2H3CO+) is formed from ionized MVK by direct methyl loss, while breaking the C–C bond on the other side of the carbonyl group results in the acetyl cation (CH3CO+, m/z 43) and the vinyl radical. The m/z 42 fragment ion is formed via a CO loss from the molecular ion after a methyl shift. The lightest fragment ion, the vinyl cation (C2H3+ at m/z 27), is produced in two different reactions: acetyl radical loss from the molecular ion and CO-loss from C2H3CO+. Their contributions to the m/z 27 signal are quantified based on the acetyl and vinyl fragment thermochemical anchors and quantum-chemical calculations. Based on the experimentally derived appearance energy of the m/z 43 fragment ion, a new, experimentally derived heat of formation is proposed for gaseous methyl vinyl ketone (ΔfH0K = −94.2 ± 4.8 kJ mol−1; ΔfH298K = −110.4 ± 4.8 kJ mol−1), together with cationic heats of formation and bond dissociation energies.