Study of dipole-bound negative ions: Formational dynamics and collisional properties
Dunning, F. B.
Doctor of Philosophy
Electron transfer in collisions between atoms in high Rydberg states and polar targets can lead to the formation of dipole-bound negative ions in which the excess electron is weakly bound by the dipole potential of the neutral molecule. Their lifetimes and collisional destruction rates are studied using a Penning ion trap. Ion decay in the trap is characterized by a single exponential lifetime, ∼60 to 100 mus governed by BBR-induced photodetachment. The rate constants for destruction of these ions by rotational energy transfer in collisions with residual target gas present in the trap are large, ∼ 10-7cm3s-1. The dynamics of CH3CN- ion production through electron transfer are examined using velocity selected Rydberg atoms. The CH3CN- ion formation rate shows a strong velocity dependence and is relatively small, the associated rate constants being ∼ 0.5--1.0 x 10-8cm 3s-1. A curve-crossing model, which considers the effect of crossings between the diabatic potential curves for the covalent K(np)/CH3CN system and the ionic K+/CH 3CN- system is discussed and provides a clear explanation for the observations. Electron transfer in collisions between dipole-bound negative ions (CH 3CN- and C2H3CN-) and target gas, including attaching molecules like SF6 and polar molecules like CH3NO2, is examined using the Penning trap. A free-electron capture model is used to describe electron transfer to attaching molecules. A near-resonant charge transfer model is employed to describe collisions between dipole-bound anions and polar molecules. The rate constants predicted by these models are consistent with the experimental observations.