Electron affinity (data page)

This page deals with the electron affinity as a property of isolated atoms or molecules (i.e. in the gas phase). Solid state electron affinities are not listed here.


Electron affinity can be defined in two equivalent ways. First, as the energy that is released by adding an electron to an isolated gaseous atom. The second (reverse) definition is that electron affinity is the energy required to remove an electron from a singly charged gaseous negative ion. Either convention can be used.[1] Whereas ionization energies are always concerned with the formation of positive ions, electron affinities are the negative ion equivalent.

Negative electron affinities can be used in those cases where electron capture requires energy, i.e. when capture can occur only if the impinging electron has a kinetic energy large enough to excite a resonance of the atom-plus-electron system. Conversely electron removal from the anion formed in this way releases energy, which is carried out by the freed electron as kinetic energy. Negative ions formed in these cases are always unstable. They may have lifetimes of the order of microseconds to milliseconds, and invariably autodetach after some time.

ZElementNameElectron affinity (eV)Electron affinity (kJ/mol)References
1 1H Hydrogen0.754 195(19)72.769(2)[2]
1 2H Deuterium0.754 59(8)72.807(8)[2]
2HeHelium-0.52-50estimated (est.)[3]
3LiLithium0.618 049(22)59.632 6(21)[4]
5BBoron0.279 723(25)26.989(3)[5]
6 12C Carbon1.262 122 6(11)121.776 3(1)[6]
6 13C Carbon1.2621136(12)121.775 5(2)[6]
7NNitrogen-0.000 725-0.07[3]
8 16O Oxygen1.461 113 6(9)140.976 0(2)[8]
8 17O Oxygen1.461 108 (4)140.975 5(4)[9]
8 18O Oxygen1.461 105(3)140.975 2(3)[9]
9FFluorine3.401 189 8(25)328.164 9(3)[10][11]
11NaSodium0.547 926(25)52.867(3)[12]
13AlAluminium0.432 83(5)41.762(5)[13]
14SiSilicon1.389 521 2(8)134.068 4(1)[8]
15PPhosphorus0.746 607(10)72.037(1)[14]
16 32S Sulfur2.077 104 2(6)200.410 1(1)[8]
16 34S Sulfur2.077 104 5(12)200.410 1(2)[15]
17ClChlorine3.612 724(27)348.575(3)[16]
19KPotassium0.501 459(13)48.383(2)[17]
20CaCalcium0.024 55(1)2.37(1)[18]
23VVanadium0.527 66(20)50.911(20)[21]
24CrChromium0.675 84(12)65.21(2)[22]
26FeIron0.153 236(34)14.785(4)[23]
27CoCobalt0.662 26(5)63.898(5)[24]
28NiNickel1.157 16(12)111.65(2)[25]
29CuCopper1.235 78(4)119.235(4)[22]
32GeGermanium1.232 676 4(13)118.935 2(2)[27]
33AsArsenic0.804 8(2)77.65(2)[28]
34SeSelenium2.020 604 7(12)194.958 7(2)[29]
35BrBromine3.363 588(3)324.537 0(3)[10]
37RbRubidium0.485 916(21)46.884(3)[30]
38SrStrontium0.052 06(6)5.023(6)[31]
40ZrZirconium0.433 341.81[32]
41NbNiobium0.917 40(6)88.516 9(7)[33]
42MoMolybdenum0.747 3(3)72.10(3)[22]
44RuRuthenium1.046 38(25)100.96(3)est.[35]
45RhRhodium1.142 89(20)110.27(2)[25]
46PdPalladium0.562 14(12)54.24(2)[25]
47AgSilver1.304 47(3)125.862(3)[22]
50SnTin1.112 070(2)107.298 4(3)[36]
51SbAntimony1.047 401(19)101.059(2)[37]
52TeTellurium1.970 875(7)190.161(1)[38]
53IIodine3.059 046 5(38)295.1531(4)[39]
55CsCaesium0.471 630(25)45.505(3)[12][40]
56BaBarium0.144 62(6)13.954(6)[41]
60NdNeodymium1.916184.87min. value[34]
65TbTerbium1.165112.4min. value[34]
66DyDysprosium0.35233.96min. value[34]
74WTungsten0.816 26(8)78.76(1)[48]
75ReRhenium0.060 396(63)5.8273(61)[49]
77IrIridium1.564 36(15)150.94(2)[50]
78PtPlatinum2.125 10(5)205.041(5)[50]
79AuGold2.308 610(25)222.747(3)[51]
82PbLead0.356 743(16)34.4204(15)[53]
83BiBismuth0.942 362(13)90.924(2)[54]
111RgRoentgenium1.565151.0calculated (calc.)[58]
118OgOganesson0.056(10)5.403 18calc.[60]


The electron affinities Eea of some molecules are given in the table below, from the lightest to the heaviest. Many more have been listed by Rienstra-Kiracofe et al. (2002). The electron affinities of the radicals OH and SH are the most precisely known of all molecular electron affinities.

MoleculeNameEea (eV)Eea (kJ/mol)References
16OHHydroxyl1.827 6488(11)176.3413(2)Goldfarb et al. (2005)
16OD1.825 53(4)176.137(5)Schulz et al. (1982)
C2Dicarbon3.269(6)315.4(6)Ervin & Lineberger (1991)
BOBoron oxide2.508(8)242.0(8)Wenthold et al. (1997)
NONitric oxide0.026(5)2.5(5)Travers, Cowles & Ellison (1989)
O2Dioxygen0.450(2)43.42(20)Schiedt & Weinkauf (1995)
32SHSulfhydryl2.314 7283(17)223.3373(2)Chaibi et al. (2006)
F2Difluorine3.08(10)297(10)Janousek & Brauman (1979)
Cl2Dichlorine2.35(8)227(8)Janousek & Brauman (1979)
Br2Dibromine2.53(8)244(8)Janousek & Brauman (1979)
I2Diiodine2.524(5)243.5(5)Zanni et al. (1997)
IBrIodine bromide2.512(3)242.4(4)Sheps, Miller & Lineberger (2009)
LiClLithium chloride0.593(10)57.2(10)Miller et al. (1986)
FeOIron(II) oxide1.4950(5)144.25(6)Kim, Weichman & Neumark (2015)
NO2Nitrogen dioxide2.273(5)219.3(5)Ervin, Ho & Lineberger (1988)
O3Ozone2.1028(25)202.89(25)Novick et al. (1979)
SO2Sulfur dioxide1.107(8)106.8(8)Nimlos & Ellison (1986)
Larger polyatomics
CH2CHOVinyloxy1.8248(+2-6)176.07(+3-7)Rienstra-Kiracofe et al. (2002) after Mead et al. (1984)
C6H6Benzene-0.70(14)−68(14)Ruoff et al. (1995)
C6H4O2p-Benzoquinone1.860(5)179.5(6)Schiedt & Weinkauf (1999)
BF3Boron trifluoride2.65(10)256(10)Page & Goode (1969)
HNO3Nitric acid0.57(15)55(14)Janousek & Brauman (1979)
CH3NO2Nitromethane0.172(6)16.6(6)Adams et al. (2009)
POCl3Phosphoryl chloride1.41(20)136(20)Mathur et al. (1976)
SF6Sulfur hexafluoride1.03(5)99.4(49)Troe, Miller & Viggiano (2012)
C2(CN)4Tetracyanoethylene3.17(20)306(20)Chowdhury & Kebarle (1986)
WF6Tungsten hexafluoride3.5(1)338(10)George & Beauchamp (1979)
UF6Uranium hexafluoride5.06(20)488(20)NIST chemistry webbook after Borshchevskii et al. (1988)
C60Buckminsterfullerene2.6835(6)258.92(6)Huang et al. (2014)


  • Janousek, Bruce K.; Brauman, John I. (1979), "Electron affinities", in Bowers, M. T., Gas Phase Ion Chemistry, 2, New York: Academic Press, p. 53 .
  • Rienstra-Kiracofe, J.C.; Tschumper, G.S.; Schaefer, H.F.; Nandi, S.; Ellison, G.B. (2002), "Atomic and molecular electron affinities: Photoelectron experiments and theoretical computations", Chem. Rev., 102, pp. 231–282, doi:10.1021/cr990044u .
  • Updated values can be found in the NIST chemistry webbook for around three dozen elements and close to 400 compounds.

Specific molecules

  • Adams, C.L.; Schneider, H.; Ervin, K.M.; Weber, J.M. (2009), "Low-energy photoelectron imaging spectroscopy of nitromethane anions: Electron affinity, vibrational features, anisotropies, and the dipole-bound state", J. Chem. Phys., 130: 074307, Bibcode:2009JChPh.130g4307A, doi:10.1063/1.3076892
  • Borshchevskii, A.Ya.; Boltalina, O.V.; Sorokin, I.D.; Sidorov, L.N. (1988), "Thermochemical quantities for gas-phase iron, uranium, and molybdenum fluorides, and their negative ions", J. Chem. Thermodyn., 20 (5): 523, doi:10.1016/0021-9614(88)90080-8
  • Chaibi, W.; Delsart, C.; Drag, C.; Blondel, C. (2006), "High precision measurement of the 32SH electron affinity by laser detachment microscopy", J. Mol. Spectrosc., 239: 11, Bibcode:2006JMoSp.239...11C, doi:10.1016/j.jms.2006.05.012
  • Chowdhury, S.; Kebarle, P. (1986), "Electron affinities of di- and tetracyanoethylene and cyanobenzenes based on measurements of gas-phase electron-transfer equilibria", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 108: 5453, doi:10.1021/ja00278a014
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  • Huang, Dao-Ling; Dau, Phuong Diem; Liu, Hong-Tao; Wang, Lai-Sheng (2014), "High-resolution photoelectron imaging of cold C
    anions and accurate determination of the electron affinity of C60", J. Chem. Phys., 140: 224315, Bibcode:2014JChPh.140v4315H, doi:10.1063/1.4881421
  • Kim, J.B.; Weichman, M.L.; Neumark, D.M. (2015), "Low-lying states of FeO and FeO by slow photoelectron spectroscopy", Mol. Phys., 113: 2105, Bibcode:2015MolPh.113.2105K, doi:10.1080/00268976.2015.1005706
  • Mathur, B.P.; Rothe, E.W.; Tang, S.Y.; Reck, G.P. (1976), "Negative ions from phosphorus halides due to cesium charge exchange", J. Chem. Phys., 65: 565, Bibcode:1976JChPh..65..565M, doi:10.1063/1.433109
  • Mead, R.D.; Lykke, K.R.; Lineberger, W.C.; Marks, J.; Brauman, J.I. (1984), "Spectroscopy and dynamics of the dipole-bound state of acetaldehyde enolate", J. Chem. Phys., 81: 4883, Bibcode:1984JChPh..81.4883M, doi:10.1063/1.447515
  • Miller, T.M.; Leopold, D.G.; Murray, K.K.; Lineberger, W.C. (1986), "Electron affinities of the alkali halides and the structure of their negative ions", J. Chem. Phys., 85: 2368, Bibcode:1986JChPh..85.2368M, doi:10.1063/1.451091
  • Nimlos, Mark R.; Ellison, G. Barney (1986), "Photoelectron spectroscopy of sulfur-containing anions (SO
    , S
    , and S2O)", J. Phys. Chem., 90: 2574, doi:10.1021/j100403a007
  • Novick, S.E.; Engelking, P.C.; Jones, P.L.; Futrell, J.H.; Lineberger, W.C. (1979), "Laser photoelectron, photodetachment, and photodestruction spectra of O
    ", J. Chem. Phys., 70: 2652, Bibcode:1979JChPh..70.2652N, doi:10.1063/1.437842
  • Page, F. M.; Goode, G. C. (1969), Negative ions and the magnetron, John Wiley & Sons [62]
  • Ruoff, R.S.; Kadish, K.M.; Boulas, P.; Chen, E.C.M. (1995), "Relationship between the Electron Affinities and Half-Wave Reduction Potentials of Fullerenes, Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Metal Complexes", J. Phys. Chem., 99: 8843, doi:10.1021/j100021a060
  • Schiedt, J.; Weinkauf, R. (1995), "Spin-orbit coupling in the O
    anion", Z. Naturforsch. A, 50 (11): 1041, Bibcode:1995ZNatA..50.1041S, doi:10.1515/zna-1995-1110
  • Schiedt, J.; Weinkauf, R. (1999), "Resonant photodetachment via shape and Feshbach resonances: p-benzoquinone anions as a model system", J. Chem. Phys., 110: 304, Bibcode:1999JChPh.110..304S, doi:10.1063/1.478066
  • Schulz, P.A.; Mead, R.D.; Jones, P.L.; Lineberger, W.C. (1982), "OH and OD threshold photodetachment", J. Chem. Phys., 77: 1153, Bibcode:1982JChPh..77.1153S, doi:10.1063/1.443980
  • Sheps, L.; Miller, E.M.; Lineberger, W.C. (2009), "Photoelectron spectroscopy of small IBr(CO2)n(n=0–3) cluster anions", J. Chem. Phys., 131: 064304, Bibcode:2009JChPh.131a4304G, doi:10.1063/1.3157185
  • Travers, M.J.; Cowles, D.C.; Ellison, G.B. (1989), "Reinvestigation of the electron affinities of O2 and NO", Chem. Phys. Lett., 164: 449, Bibcode:1989CPL...164..449T, doi:10.1016/0009-2614(89)85237-6
  • Troe, J.; Miller, T.M.; Viggiano, A.A. (2012), "Communication:Revised electron affinity of SF6 from kinetic data", J. Chem. Phys., 136: 121102, Bibcode:2012JChPh.136b1102G, doi:10.1063/1.3698170
  • Wenthold, P.G.; Kim, J.B.; Jonas, K.-L.; Lineberger, W.C. (1997), "An Experimental and Computational Study of the Electron Affinity of Boron Oxide", J. Phys. Chem. A, 101: 4472, Bibcode:1997JPCA..101.4472W, doi:10.1021/jp970645u
  • Zanni, M.T.; Taylor, T.R.; Greenblatt, B.J.; Soep, B.; Neumark, D.M. (1997), "Characterization of the I
    anion ground state using conventional and femtosecond photoelectron spectroscopy", J. Chem. Phys., 107: 7613, Bibcode:1997JChPh.107.7613Z, doi:10.1063/1.475110


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See also

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