Position-Specific 13C Fractionation during Liquid−Vapor Transition Correlated to the Strength of Intermolecular Interaction in the Liquid Phase


  • Julien Maxime
  • Höhener Patrick
  • Robins Richard J.
  • Parinet Julien
  • Remaud Gérald S.


  • Position-specific isotope fractionation
  • Isotope ratio monitoring 13C NMR spectrometry
  • Volatilization
  • Distillation
  • Craig-Gordon model

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The relationship between the strength of the intermolecular interaction in liquid and the position-specific 13C fractionation observed during distillation was investigated. A range of molecules showing different intermolecular interactions in terms of mode and intensity were incorporated in the study. Although it had previously been suggested that during evaporation the diffusive 13C isotope effect in the thin liquid layer interfaced with vapor is not position-specific, herein we show that this is not the case. In particular, the position-specific effect was demonstrated for a series of alcohols. Our hypothesis is that intermolecular interactions in the liquid phase are the source of position-specific 13C fractionation observed on the molecule. A clear trend is observed between the 13C isotope effect of the carbon bearing the heteroatom of chemical function and the relative permittivity, the solvent hydrogen-bond acidity and the solvent hydrogen-bond basicity, while only a weak trend was observed when using the 13C content of the whole molecule. Furthermore two families of products appeared when using the hydrogen-bond acidity parameter for the correlation by distinguishing H-acceptors and H-donors molecules to those H-acceptors only. This strongly reinforces the hypothesis of an important role of the 13C positioned close to the interaction center.

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