Probing dissociative electron attachment through heavy-Rydberg ion-pair production in Rydberg atom collisions
Electron transfer in collisions between low-n, n = 12, Rydberg atoms and targets that attach low-energy electrons can lead to the formation of heavy-Rydberg ion-pair states comprising a weakly-bound positive-negative ion pair that orbit each other at large separations. Measurements of the velocity and angular distribution of ion-pair states produced in collisions with 1,1,1-C2Cl3F3, CBrCl3, BrCN, and Fe(CO)5 are used to show that electron transfer reactions furnish a new technique with which to examine the lifetime and decay energetics of the excited intermediates formed during dissociative electron capture. The results are analyzed with the aid of Monte Carlo simulations based on the free electron model of Rydberg atom collisions. The data further highlight the capabilities of Rydberg atoms as a microscale laboratory in which to probe the dynamics of electron attachment reactions.