Optical Spectroscopy and Chemical Imaging (OSCI)
Selective Synthesis of Ethylene and Acetylene from
Selective Synthesis of Ethylene and Acetylene from Dimethyl Sulfide Cold Films Controlled by Slow Electrons
H. Abdoul-Carime, I. Bald, E. Illenberger, J. Kopyra
One of the major challenges in chemical synthesis is to trigger and control a specific reaction route leading to a specific final product, while side products are avoided. Methodologies based on resonant processes at the molecular level, for example, photochemistry, offer the possibility of inducing selective reactions. Electrons at energies below the molecular ionization potential (<10 eV) are known to dissociate molecules via resonant processes with higher cross sections and specificity than photons. Here we show that even subexcitation electrons with energies as low as 1 eV produce ethylene and acetylene from dimethyl sulfide in competing reactions. However, the production of ethylene can specifically be targeted by controlling the energy of electrons (∼3 to 4 eV). Finally, pure ethylene is selectively desorbed by heating the substrate from 90 to 105 K. Beyond the synthesis of these versatile hydrocarbons for various industrial applications from a biogenic sulfur compound, our findings demonstrate the feasibility of electron-induced selective chemistry applicable on the nanoscale.


Journal Article
The Journal of Physical Chemistry