Atomic force microscopy identifying fuel pyrolysis products and directing the synthesis of analytical standards

Here we present a new method that integrates atomic force microscopy (AFM) with analytical tools such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with diode-array ultraviolet-visible (UV) absorbance and mass spectrometry (MS) along with synthetic chemistry. This allows the detection, identification, and quantification of novel polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in complex molecular mixtures. This multi-disciplinary methodology is employed to characterize the supercritical pyrolysis products of n-decane, a model fuel. The pyrolysis experiments result in a complex mixture of both unsubstituted as well as highly methylated PAH. We demonstrate the AFM-driven discovery of a novel compound, benz[l]indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, with the chemical structure assignment serving as input for the chemical synthesis of such molecule. The synthesis is verified by AFM and the synthesized compound is used as a reference standard in analytical measurements, establishing the first-ever unequivocal identification and quantification of this PAH as a fuel product. Moreover, the high-resolution AFM analysis detected several five- to eight-ring PAH, which represents novel fuel pyrolysis and/or combustion products. This work provides a route to develop new analytical standards by symbiotically using AFM, chemical synthesis, and modern analytical tools.

Keywords: atomic force microscopy; CO-functionalized tips; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; pyrolysis; synthetic chemistry; Perez, Guitian, Pena

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By: Shadi Fatayer, Nimesh B. Poddar, Sabela Quiroga, Fabian Schulz, Bruno Schuler, Subramanian V. Kalpathy, Gerhard Meyer, Dolores Pérez, Enrique Guitián, Diego Peña, Mary J. Wornat, Leo Gross

Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society , volume 140, (no 26), pages 10.1021/jacs.8b02525 in 2018


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