233. Identification of Elusive Keto and Enol Intermediates in the Photolysis of 1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazinane

Santosh K. Singh, Vasant Vuppuluri, Bing-Jian Sun, Bo-Yu Chang, André K. Eckhardt, Steven F. Son, Agnes H. H. Chang, and Ralf I. Kaiser; The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters; (2021); DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01610

Enols have emerged as critical reactive intermediates in combustion processes and in fundamental molecular mass growth processes in the interstellar medium, but the elementary reaction pathways to enols in extreme environments, such as during the decomposition of molecular energetic materials, are still elusive. Here, we report on the original identification of the enol and keto isomers of oxy-s-triazine, as well as its deoxygenated derivative 1,3,5-triazine, formed in the photodecomposition processes of 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane (RDX)—a molecular energetic material. The identification was facilitated by exploiting isomer-selective tunable photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS) in conjunction with quantum chemical calculations. The present study reports the first experimental evidence of an enol intermediate in the dissociation domain of a nitramine-based energetic material. Our investigations suggest that the enols like 1,3,5-triazine-2-ol could be the source of hydroxyl radicals, and their inclusion in the theoretical models is important to understand the unprecedented chemistry of explosive materials.