Using the stimulated-emission-pumping/resonant 2-photon ionization (SEP-R2PI) method, we have determined accurate intermolecular dissociation energies D0 of supersonic jet-cooled intermolecular complexes of 1-naphthol (1NpOH) with alkanes, 1NpOH·S, with S = methane, ethane, propane, and n-butane. Experimentally, the smaller alkanes form a single minimum-energy structure, while 1-naphthol·n-butane forms three different isomers. The ground-state dissociation energies D0(S0) for the complexes with propane and n-butane (isomers A and B) were bracketed within ±0.5%, being 16.71 ± 0.08 kJ/mol for S = propane and 20.5 ± 0.1 kJ/mol for isomer A and 20.2 ± 0.1 kJ/mol for isomer B of n-butane. All 1NpOH·S complexes measured previously exhibit a clear dissociation threshold in their hot-band detected SEP-R2PI spectra, but weak SEP-R2PI bands are observed above the putative dissociation onset for the methane and ethane complexes. We attribute these bands to long-lived complexes that retain energy in rotation-type intermolecular vibrations, which couple only weakly to the dissociation coordinates. Accounting for this, we find dissociation energies of D0(S0) = 7.98 ± 0.55 kJ/mol (±7%) for S = methane and 14.5 ± 0.28 kJ/mol (±2%) for S = ethane. The D0 values increase by only 1% upon S0S1 excitation of 1-naphthol. The dispersion-corrected density functional theory methods B97-D3, B3LYP-D3, and ωB97X-D predict that the n-alkanes bind dispersively to the naphthalene “Face.” The assignment of the complexes to Face structures is supported by the small spectral shifts of the S0S1 electronic origins, which range from +0.5 to −15 cm−1. Agreement with the calculated dissociation energies D0(S0) is quite uneven, the B97-D3 values agree within 5% for propane and n-butane, but differ by up to 20% for methane and ethane. The ωB97X-D method shows good agreement for methane and ethane but overestimates the D0(S0) values for the larger n-alkanes by up to 20%. The agreement of the B3LYP-D3 D0 values is intermediate between the other two methods.

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