The characterisation of molecular alkali-metal azides

J. Steven Ogden, John M. Dyke, William Levason, Francesco Ferrante, Laura Gagliardi

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Matrix isolation infrared (IR) studies have been carried out on the vaporisation of the alkali-metal azides MN3 (M = Na, K. Rb and Cs). The results show that under high vacuum conditions, molecular KN3, RbN3 and CsN3 are present as stable high-temperature vapour species, together with variable amounts of nitrogen gas and the corresponding metal atoms. The characterisation of these molecular azides is supported by ab initio molecular orbital calculations and density functional theory (DFT) calculations, and for CsN3 in particular, by the detection of the isotopomers Cs(14N15N14N) and Cs(15N14N14N). The IR spectra are assigned to a "side-on" (C2v) structure by comparison with the spectral features predicted both by vibrational analysis and calculation. The most intense IR features for KN3, RbN3 and CsN3 isolated in nitrogen matrices lie at 2005, 2004.4 and 2002.2 cm-1, respectively, and correspond to the N3 asymmetric stretch. The N 3 bending mode in CsN3 is identified at 629cm -1. An additional feature routinely observed in these experiments occurred at approximately 2323 cm-1 and is assigned to molecular N2, perturbed by the close proximity of an alkali-metal atom. The position of this band appeared to show very little cation dependence, but its intensity correlated with the extent of sample thermal decomposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3580-3586
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 24 2006


  • Alkali metals
  • Azides
  • IR spectroscopy
  • Matrix isolation
  • Theoretical calculations

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