Bromoacetyl chloride photodissociation has been interpreted as a paradigmatic example of a process in which nonadiabatic effects play a major role. In molecular beam experiments by Butler and co-workers [J. Chem. Phys. 95, 3848 (1991); J. Chem. Phys. 97, 355 (1992)], BrC H2 C (O) Cl was prepared in its ground electronic state (S0) and excited with a laser at 248 nm to its first excited singlet state (S1). The two main ensuing photoreactions are the ruptures of the C-Cl bond and of the C-Br bond. A nonadiabatic model was proposed in which the C-Br scission is strongly suppressed due to nonadiabatic recrossing at the barrier formed by the avoided crossing between the S1 and S2 states. Recent reduced-dimensional dynamical studies lend support to this model. However, another interpretation that has been given for the experimental results is that the reduced probability of C-Br scission is a consequence of incomplete intramolecular energy redistribution. To provide further insight into this problem, we have studied the energetically lowest six singlet electronic states of bromoacetyl chloride by using an ab initio multiconfigurational perturbative electronic structure method. Stationary points (minima and saddle points) and minimum energy paths have been characterized on the S0 and S1 potential energy surfaces. The fourfold way diabatization method has been applied to transform five adiabatic excited electronic states to a diabatic representation. The diabatic potential energy matrix of the first five excited singlet states has been constructed along several cuts of the potential energy hypersurfaces. The thermochemistry of the photodissociation reactions and a comparison with experimental translational energy distributions strongly suggest that nonadiabatic effects dominate the C-Br scission, but that the reaction proceeds along the energetically allowed diabatic pathway to excited-state products instead of being nonadiabatically suppressed. This conclusion is also supported by the low values of the diabatic couplings on the C-Br scission reaction path. The methodology established in the present study will be used for the construction of global potential energy surfaces suitable for multidimensional dynamics simulations to test these preliminary interpretations.
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The authors are grateful to Mark S. Gordon for permission to port the ISA algorithm from GAMESS to HONDOPLUS . This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CHE03-49122.