The mechanism of electron capture to form anions
Anions have been speculated to be abundant in the interstellar medium (ISM), primarily as carbon rich molecules such as small carbon clusters and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The first anion to be directly observed in the ISM was C6H– in 2006. However, how these anions are formed remains contentious. The ISM is a non-interacting environment and the capture of an electron without a “bath” will instantly lead to the emission of that electron. The question then is: how can the transient anion form its ground state? We have developed new methods for probing electron attachment processes in real-time and have used these to show that nonadiabatic dynamics in the continuum can lead to a competition between internal conversion and autodetachment and that the former can dominate. This project will develop this by using a combined experimental and theoretical approach to build an understanding of: (i) the intrinsic dynamics that lead to anion formation; (ii) the subsequent heat loss channels though new ion storage experiments; and (iii) the factors that determine why certain classes of molecules can capture electrons more efficiently than others.
Fully funded studentship for 39 months.
How good is research at Durham University in Chemistry?
FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.80
Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
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