Catalysis Letters

, Volume 109, Issue 1–2, pp 25–35 | Cite as

Intermediates in the Methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) Reaction: A Gas Phase Study of the Unimolecular Reactivity of Multiply Methylated Benzenium Cations

  • Stian Svelle
  • Morten Bjørgen
  • Stein Kolboe
  • Dietmar Kuck
  • Matthias Letzel
  • Unni Olsbye
  • Osamu Sekiguchi
  • Einar UggerudEmail author


In order to reach a deeper insight into the reaction mechanism of the zeolite catalyzed methanol to hydrocarbons reaction (MTH), the proposed reaction intermediates, i.e., a series of multiply methyl-substituted benzenium ions has been generated in the gas phase by chemical ionization. The fragmentations of the corresponding long-lived (metastable) ions have been investigated. While expulsion of H2 dominates for the lower homologues, elimination of methane dominates for the higher homologues, accompanied by increasing amounts CH 3 · . Loss of larger fragments relevant to the MTH-reaction, in particular ethene, propene and even butene, is also observed in minor amounts. This latter finding is consistent with a proposed reaction cycle in the MTH reaction known as the paring mechanism, and the feasibility of this mechanism has thus been demonstrated. The metastable gas-phase ions studied here are considerably more energetic than those residing in a zeolite catalyst, but they were found to decompose with markedly higher selectivity towards alkenes as compared to those activated by collision-induced dissociation (CID).


gas phase ion chemistry mass spectrometry methylbenzene methanol-to-hydrocarbons zeolite heptamethylbenzenium 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stian Svelle
    • 1
  • Morten Bjørgen
    • 1
  • Stein Kolboe
    • 1
  • Dietmar Kuck
    • 2
  • Matthias Letzel
    • 2
  • Unni Olsbye
    • 1
  • Osamu Sekiguchi
    • 1
  • Einar Uggerud
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Fakultät für ChemieUniversität BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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