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Title: The reactions of the molecular nitrogen doubly charged ion with neutral molecules of relevance to planetary ionospheres
Author: Ricketts, C. L.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Diatomic dications (e.g. C02+) have been known to exist for several decades and are believed to be important components of energised media. Molecular dications possess significant internal energy due to the Coulombic repulsion of their two positive charges, meaning that many possible reaction channels are available to dications in a collision with a neutral molecule. Modellers have recently predicted that N22+ is present in the ionosphere of Earth and Titan as well as the dications C > 22+ and 02+ in the ionosphere of Earth and CC > 22+ in the ionosphere of Mars. These recent predictions, of dications in planetary ionospheres, imply that dications, and processes involving dication-neutral collisions, may have more significance than previously thought in the upper atmospheres of planets. Therefore this thesis describes a study of the reactions between N2 dications and neutrals, potentially of relevance to the ionosphere of Earth and Titan. A position sensitive coincidence (PSCO) time-of flight (TOF) mass spectrometer is used to probe the reactivity, energetics and dynamics of the bimolecular reactions of N22 . Dication-neutrals reactions often result in a pair of singly charged ions. The PSCO experiment is used to collect these pairs of singly-charged ions in coincidence. From the position-sensitive data we extract the velocity vectors of the product ions, and if the reaction of interest involves the formation of a third, undetected, neutral species, its velocity can be determined via conservation of momentum. The electron transfer reactions between dications and neutrals have been well rationalized 2+ previously, so only the electron transfer reactions of N2 with Ne and NO are discussed in this thesis. This thesis concentrates on probing the less well rationalized, bond- forming reactions between dications and neutrals. The bond-forming reactions of N22+ with O2, CO2, H2O, C2H2, CH4, H2 and Ar have been investigated and discussed. Several new bond-forming reactions mechanisms are derived for example, the bond-forming reactions of N22+ with O2 proceed via a 'long' lived complex which dissociates via loss of a neutral and then charge separation, a mechanism which is also operating for one of the bond-forming reactions of N2 with CO2 and N2 with H2O. Additional bond-forming reactions are detected for N22+ with CO2 and H2O, which proceed via shorter lived collision complexes. The reactions of N22+ with C2H2, CH4, H2 and Ar all proceed via a variety of mechanisms involving short-lived collision complexes or H and electron stripping.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available