Communication: The ground electronic state of Si2C: Rovibrational level structure, quantum monodromy, and astrophysical implications Academic Article uri icon


  • We report the gas-phase optical detection of Si2C near 390 nm and the first experimental investigation of the rovibrational structure of its 1A1 ground electronic state using mass-resolved and fluorescence spectroscopy and variational calculations performed on a high-level ab initio potential. From this joint study, it is possible to assign all observed Ka = 1 vibrational levels up to 3800 cm−1 with confidence, as well as a number of levels in the Ka = 0, 2,  and 3 manifolds. Dixon-dip plots for the bending coordinate (ν2) allow an experimental determination of a barrier to linearity of 783(48) cm−1 (2σ), in good agreement with theory (802(9) cm−1). The calculated (Ka, ν2) eigenvalue lattice shows an archetypal example of quantum monodromy (absence of a globally valid set of quantum numbers) that is reflected by the experimentally observed rovibrational levels. The present study provides a solid foundation for infrared and optical surveys of Si2C in astronomical objects, particularly in the photosphere of N- and J-type carbon stars where the isovalent SiC2 molecule is known to be abundant.

publication date

  • June 21, 2015