Electron diffraction of 1,4-dichlorobenzene embedded in superfluid helium droplets

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We perform electron diffraction of 1,4-dichlorobenzene (C6H4Cl2, referred to as 2ClB) embedded in superfluid helium droplets to investigate the structure evolution of cluster growth. Multivariable linear regression fittings are used to determine the concentration and the best model structures of the clusters. At a droplet source temperature of 22 K with droplets containing on average 5000 He atoms, the fitting results agree with the doping statistics modeled using the Poisson distribution: the largest molecular clusters are tetramers, while the abundances of monomers and dimers are the highest and are similar. Molecular dimers of 2ClB are determined to have a parallel structure with a 60° rotation for the Cl–Cl molecular axes. However, a better agreement between experiment and fitting is obtained by reducing the interlayer distance that had been calculated using the density functional theory for dimers. Further calculations using the highest level quantum mechanical calculations prove that the reduction in interlayer distance does not significantly increase the energy of the dimer. Cluster trimers adopt a dimer structure with the additional monomer slanted against the dimer, and tetramers take on a stacked structure. The structure evolution with cluster size is extraordinary, because from trimer to tetramer, one monomer needs to be rearranged, and neither the trimer nor the tetramer adopts the corresponding global minimum structure obtained using high level coupled-cluster theory calculations. This phenomenon may be related to the fast cooling process in superfluid helium droplets during cluster formation.


This article was originally published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics