Phenoxyl radical (C(6)H(5)O) was prepared photochemically in low-temperature argon matrices. The infrared absorption spectra were obtained for C(6)H(5)O and for the isotopically labeled species C(6)D(5)O and 1-(13)C(12)C(5)H(5)O. All but one IR-active fundamental vibrations were detected, most of them not previously observed. Combination of results from IR linear dichroism measurements on photooriented samples, determination of absolute IR intensities with the help of internal standards, analysis of isotopic shifts, and quantum chemical predictions (B3LYP/cc-pVTZ) led to a detailed assignment of phenoxyl radical vibrations. Significant frequency shifts are observed with respect to previously reported data based on resonance Raman studies in polar solutions. For some vibrations, these shifts reflect environment-induced structural changes, such as increase of the quinoid character of the phenoxyl radical in polar media. In particular, the frequency of the CO stretching vibration, readily observable in both IR and Raman experiments, is extremely sensitive to the environment and can thus be used to probe its polarity.
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