The (HCOOH)2 anion, formed by electron attachment to the formic acid dimer (FA2), is an archetypal system for exploring the mechanics of the electron-induced proton transfer motif that is purported to occur when neutral nucleic acid base-pairs accommodate an excess electron [K. Aflatooni, G. A. Gallup, and P. D. Burrow, J. Phys. Chem. A102, 6205 (1998)

; J. H. Hendricks, S. A. Lyapustina, H. L. de Clercq, J. T. Snodgrass, and K. H. Bowen, J. Chem Phys.104, 7788 (1996); C. Desfrancois, H. Abdoul-Carime, and J. P. Schermann, J. Chem Phys.104, 7792 (1996)]. The FA2 anion and several of its H/D isotopologues were isolated in the gas phase and characterized using Ar-tagged vibrational predissociation and electron autodetachment spectroscopies. The photoelectron spectrum of the FA2 anion was also recorded using velocity-map imaging. The resulting spectroscopic information verifies the equilibrium FA2 geometry predicted by theory which features a symmetrical, double H-bonded bridge effectively linking together constituents that most closely resemble the formate ion and a dihydroxymethyl radical. The spectroscopic signatures of this ion were analyzed with the aid of calculated anharmonic vibrational band patterns.

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