Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

M. Samy El-Shall


Characterizing the interactions of solvent molecules with ions is fundamental in understanding the thermodynamics of solution chemistry. These interactions are difficult to observe directly in solution because the number of solvent molecules far exceed that of ions. This lend the gas phase to be the ideal medium in the study ion-solvent interactions on a molecular level. Ionized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules can readily form hydrogen bonds with neutral solvent molecules in aqueous and interstellar medium. Previous research has been done for stepwise solvation of small molecules such as benzene+, pyridine, and phenylacetylene. The similarity in these results show that these organic ions can be considered prototypical model systems for aromatic ion-neutral solvent interactions. The goal of this dissertation is to demonstrate that naphthalene can act as a prototypical model of PAH ions for ion-solvent interactions.

Two types of experiments are considered throughout this dissertation using ion mobility mass spectrometry: (1) ion-neutral equilibrium thermochemistry and (2) mobility measurements. For thermochemistry experiments, the naphthalene radical cation was injected into the drift cell containing helium and/or neutral solvent vapor and the enthalpy and entropy changes were measured by varying the drift cell temperature and measuring the equilibrium constants. The results of these studies showed that small polar molecules bind to naphthalene with similar energy based on the measured by the enthalpy changes. Unsaturated aliphatic molecules behave similarly, but with much lower binding energy. Aromatic ions tend to bind to the naphthalene with lower binding energy than that observed with the benzene ion. The results for small polar molecules were compared to similar studies using the phenyl cation. The second series of experiments required the coexpansion of the naphthalene and benzene or pyridine. Injecting theses dimers into the drift cell allowed the measurement of reduced mobility on the dimers at a series of temperatures. These were used to calculate the average collision cross section and thus give insight in to the structure of these aromatic dimers. Structures were determined by comparing these results to those predicted by DFT calculations.


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