Absorption Spectrum, Mass Spectrometric Properties, and Electronic Structure of 1,2-Benzoquinone

Absorption spectrophotometric and mass spectrometric properties of 1,2-benzoquinone, prepared in aqueous solution by the hexachloroiridate(IV) oxidation of catechol and isolated by HPLC, are reported. Its absorption spectrum has a broad moderately intense band in the near UV with an extinction coefficient of 1370 M<sup>−1</sup>cm<sup>−1</sup> at its 389 nm maximum. The oscillator strength of this band contrasts with those of the order-of-magnitude stronger ∼250 nm bands of most 1,4-benzoquinones. Gaussian analysis of its absorption spectrum indicates that it also has modestly intense higher energy bands in the 250−320 nm region. In atmospheric pressure mass spectrometric studies 1,2-benzoquinone exhibits very strong positive and negative mass 109 signals that result from the addition of protons and hydride ions in APCI and ESI ion sources. It is suggested that the hydride adduct is formed as the result of the highly polar character of <i>ortho</i>-quinone. On energetic collision the hydride adduct loses an H atom to produce the 1,2-benzosemiquinone radical anion. The present studies also show that atmospheric pressure mass spectral patterns observed for catechol are dominated by signals of 1,2-benzoquinone resulting from oxidation of catechol in the ion sources. Computational studies of the electronic structures of 1,2-benzoquinone, its proton and hydride ion adducts, and 1,2-benzosemiquinone radical anion are reported. These computational studies show that the structures of the proton and hydride adducts are similar and indicate that the hydride adduct is the proton adduct of a doubly negatively charged 1,2-benzoquinone. The contrast between the properties of 1,2- and 1,4-benzoquinone provides the basis for considerations on the effects of conjugation in aromatic systems.