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Keywords:

  • carbonyloxyl radical;
  • electron photodetachment;
  • electrospray ionization;
  • ion-trap mass spectrometry;
  • radical anions
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Long lived: Carbonyloxyl radicals (RCO2.) are reactive intermediates that play key roles in initiating polymerization reactions. This reactivity also makes their direct observation difficult. For the first time a persistent organic RCO2. radical is detected in the gas phase, its extraordinary longevity is attributed to the high barrier towards fragmentation owing to the endothermicity of the decarboxylation products.