Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Dennis Clouthier


Transient molecules are of great importance due to their critical role as intermediates in the semiconductor industry, in upper atmosphere reactions, and in astrochemistry. In the present work, reactive intermediates were produced in the laboratory by applying an electric discharge through a suitable precursor gas mixture and studied by means of their laser-induced fluorescence and emission spectra.

The band systems of and have been studied in detail. The energy levels of both isotopologues were fitted with a Renner-Teller model, and the isotope relations have been used to test the validity of the derived parameters.

The A2Πu - X 2Πg electronic transition of jet-cooled has been detected and shown to originate from the Ω=3/2 spin-orbit component of v=0 of the ground state. For the first time, the 0-0 band has been identified and vibrational assignments have been made. Our ab initio studies show that the extensive observed perturbations are due to spin-orbit interaction between A2Πu(3/2) and B2Δu(3/2) states. The experimental data were fitted to an effective Hamiltonian and yielded the spin-orbit coupling term =240 cm-1.

LIF and emission spectra of the transition of N2O+ have been recorded. Both spin-orbit components of the band were studied at high resolution and rotationally analyzed, providing precise molecular constants. Emission spectra provided extensive data on the ground state vibrational levels which were fitted to a Renner-Teller model including spin-orbit and Fermi resonance terms.

The previously unknown electronic spectrum of the H2PO radical has been identified. Ab initio predictions were used to aid in the analysis of the data. The band system is assigned as the electronic transition. The excited state molecular structure was determined by rotational analysis of high resolution LIF spectra.

The band systems of the HBCl and DBCl free radicals have been studied in detail. This electron promotion involves a linear-bent transition between the two Renner-Teller components of what would be a 2Π electronic state at linearity. Ab initio potential energy surface calculations were used to help in assigning the LIF spectra which involve transitions from the ground state zero-point level to high vibrational levels of the excited state.