Cernuto, Andrea (2017) Dissociative charge transfer of organic molecules induced by collisions with the He+ cation. A joint experimental and theoretical study of relevance for the interstellar medium evolution. PhD thesis, University of Trento.
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Collisions with He+ are an important pathway for the destruction of complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium (ISM). We have carried out dissociative charge transfer reactions of He+ with two oxygen containing organic molecules, ubiquitous in ISM: dimethyl ether (DME, CH3OCH3 ) and methyl formate (MF, HCOOCH3). Since they have a prebiotic relevance, several models were developed to explain how these molecules are formed and destroyed in the ISM. The reactions have been investigated by using the home-built Guided-Ion Beam Mass Spectrometer (GIB-MS) apparatus. Absolute cross sections and branching ratios of the products have been measured as a function of the collision energy in the hyperthermal energy range (i.e. from about 0.1 eV to 7 eV). The presence of the molecular ion was not observed among the products for these reactions, which means that the nascent DME and MF radical cations are formed in a dissociative state. Insights on both the charge transfer processes have been obtained by investigating the nature of the non-adiabatic transitions between the reactant and product potential energy surfaces (PES). The PES has been represented by using a semi-empirical method to model the inter-molecular interactions. To explain the experimental evidence, two excited states of DME and MF radical cations have been invoked: He+ captures an electron from inner valence orbitals of both the organic molecules, having binding energies ~10 eV higher than the HOMO. An improved Landau-Zener-Stückelberg model has been developed to obtain the total integral cross-section to be compared with the experimental results. Inter-molecular interaction and electron densities of the orbitals involved in the reaction turned out to be key points to describe the dynamics of the two studied dissociative charge transfers. A very good agreement is obtained between the experimental and calculated total cross-sections at low collision energy, which is the most relevant range for the interstellar environment. These results represent a significant starting point to estimate rate constants for the total dissociation of DME and MF by collisions with He+ ions in the ISM at low temperatures.
|Item Type:||Doctoral Thesis (PhD)|
|Subjects:||Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/01 FISICA SPERIMENTALE|
Area 03 - Scienze chimiche > CHIM/02 CHIMICA FISICA
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Astrochemistry, capture model, ion-molecule reactions, complex organic molecules, Landau-Zener model, astrophysics, guided ion beam mass spectrometer|
|Repository Staff approval on:||20 Nov 2017 09:32|
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