Dihydrogen trioxide clusters, (HOOOH)n (n = 2−4) and the hydrogen-bonded complexes of HOOOH with acetone and dimethyl ether: implications for the decomposition of HOOOH

S. Kovacic, J. Koller, J. Cerkovnik, T. Tuttle, B. Plesnicar

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Hydrogen-bonded gas-phase molecular clusters of dihydrogen trioxide (HOOOH) have been investigated using DFT (B3LYP/6-311++G(3df,3pd)) and MP2/6-311++G(3df,3pd) methods. The binding energies, vibrational frequencies, and dipole moments for the various dimer, trimer, and tetramer structures, in which HOOOH acts as a proton donor as well as an acceptor, are reported. The stronger binding interaction in the HOOOH dimer, as compared to that in the analogous cyclic structure of the HOOH dimer, indicates that dihydrogen trioxide is a stronger acid than hydrogen peroxide. A new decomposition pathway for HOOOH was explored. Decomposition occurs via an eight-membered ring transition state for the intermolecular (slightly asynchronous) transfer of two protons between the HOOOH molecules, which form a cyclic dimer, to produce water and singlet oxygen (Δ1O2). This autocatalytic decomposition appears to explain a relatively fast decomposition (ΔHa(298K) ) 19.9 kcal/mol, B3LYP/6-311+G(d,p)) of HOOOH in nonpolar (inert) solvents, which might even compete with the water-assisted decomposition of this simplest of polyoxides (ΔHa(298K) ) 18.8 kcal/mol for (H2O)2-assisted decomposition) in more polar solvents. The formation of relatively strongly hydrogen-bonded complexes between HOOOH and organic oxygen bases, HOOOH-B (B ) acetone and dimethyl ether), strongly retards the decomposition in these bases as solvents, most likely by preventing such a proton transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8129-8135
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2008



  • Dihydrogen Trioxide Clusters
  • (HOOOH)n (n = 2−4)
  • Hydrogen-Bonded Complexes
  • Acetone
  • Dimethyl Ether
  • Implications
  • Decomposition

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