The mere mixing of N-alkylphenothiazines with three channel-type acid zeolites with various structures (ferrierite, H-MFI, and mordenite) induces the spontaneous ionization of the heterocyclic molecule in high yield upon adsorption. The diffuse reflectance UV–visible absorption and Raman scattering spectra show that the accessibility of the highly polarizing acid sites is not indispensable to induce the spontaneous ionization process. Due to their particularly low ionization potential values (6.7 eV), the adsorption of the molecules on the external surface or in the inner volume is the key parameter to generate the radical cation. However, the ionization yield and charge stabilization are intimately correlated to the possibility of the zeolites accommodating molecules inside their channels. Moreover, the higher electrostatic field gradient induced by high confinement is required to favor the second ionization and dication formation. The alkyl chain length plays a decisive role by either slowing down the diffusion process or blocking the molecule at the pore entry. Therefore, the efficiency of the ionization process that depends on the number of adsorbed molecules decreases significantly from phenothiazine to the N-alkylphenothiazines. The spectral data demonstrate that deformation of the alkyl group is necessary to allow the diffusion of the molecules into the channels.
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