Infrared Multiple Photon Dissociation Spectroscopy of Potassiated Proline

The structure of proline in [proline + K]+ has been investigated in the gas phase using high level DFT and MP2 calculations and infrared photo dissociation spectroscopy with a free electron laser (FELIX). The respective FELIX spectrum of [proline + K]+ matches convincingly the calculated spectra of two structurally closely related and nearly iso-energetic zwitterionic salt bridge (SB) structures. An additional unresolved band at ∼1725 cm−1 matching with the characteristic CO stretching mode of charge solvation (CS) structures points toward the presence of a minor population of these conformers of proline in [proline + K]+. However, theory predicts a significant energy gap of 18.9 kJmol−1 (B3LYP/6-311++G(2d,2p)) or 15.6 kJ mol−1 (MP2) between the lowest CS conformer of proline and the clearly favored SB structure.