The Li+–(H2)n n = 1–3 complexes are investigated through infrared spectra recorded in the H–H stretch region (3980–4120 cm−1) and through ab initio calculations at the MP2∕aug-cc-pVQZ level. The rotationally resolved H–H stretch band of Li+–H2 is centered at 4053.4 cm−1 [a −108 cm−1 shift from the Q1(0) transition of H2]. The spectrum exhibits rotational substructure consistent with the complex possessing a T-shaped equilibrium geometry, with the Li+ ion attached to a slightly perturbed H2 molecule. Around 100 rovibrational transitions belonging to parallel Ka = 0‐0, 1-1, 2-2, and 3-3 subbands are observed. The Ka = 0‐0 and 1-1 transitions are fitted by a Watson A-reduced Hamiltonian yielding effective molecular parameters. The vibrationally averaged intermolecular separation in the ground vibrational state is estimated as 2.056 Å increasing by 0.004 Å when the H2 subunit is vibrationally excited. The spectroscopic data are compared to results from rovibrational calculations using recent three dimensional Li+–H2 potential energy surfaces [ Martinazzo et al., J. Chem. Phys. 119, 11241 (2003); Kraemer and Špirko, Chem. Phys. 330, 190 (2006) ]. The H–H stretch band of Li+–(H2)2, which is centered at 4055.5 cm−1 also exhibits resolved rovibrational structure. The spectroscopic data along with ab initio calculations support a H2–Li+–H2 geometry, in which the two H2 molecules are disposed on opposite sides of the central Li+ ion. The two equivalent Li+⋯H2 bonds have approximately the same length as the intermolecular bond in Li+–H2. The Li+–(H2)3 cluster is predicted to possess a trigonal structure in which a central Li+ ion is surrounded by three equivalent H2 molecules. Its infrared spectrum features a broad unresolved band centered at 4060 cm−1.
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