GaCH2, a free radical thought to play a role in the chemical vapor deposition of gallium-containing thin films and semiconductors, has been spectroscopically detected for the first time. The radical was produced in a pulsed discharge jet using a precursor mixture of trimethylgallium vapor in high pressure argon and studied by laser-induced fluorescence and wavelength resolved emission techniques. Partially rotationally resolved spectra of the hydrogenated and deuterated species were obtained, and they exhibit the nuclear statistical weight variations and subband structure expected for a 2A22B1 electronic transition. The measured spectroscopic quantities have been compared to our own ab initio calculations of the ground and excited state properties. The electronic spectrum of gallium methylene is similar to the corresponding spectrum of the aluminum methylene radical, which we reported in 2022.

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