Conspectus: Most chemical processes are triggered by electron or charge transfer phenomena (CT). An important class of processes involving CT are chemi-ionization reactions. Such processes are very common in nature, involving neutral species in ground or excited electronic states with sufficient energy (X*) to yield ionic products, and are considered as the primary initial step in flames. They are characterized by pronounced electronic rearrangements that take place within the collisional complex (X···M)∗ formed by approaching reagents, as shown by the following scheme, where M is an atomic or molecular target: X∗ + M → (X···M)∗ → [(X+···M) - (X···M+)]e- → via e- → CT (X···M)+ + e- → final ions. Despite their important role in fundamental and applied research, combustion, plasmas, and astrochemistry, a unifying description of these basic processes is still lacking. This Account describes a new general theoretical methodology that demonstrates, for the first time, that chemi-ionization reactions are prototypes of gas phase oxidation processes occurring via two different microscopic mechanisms whose relative importance varies with collision energy, Ec, and separation distance, R. These mechanisms are illustrated for simple collisions involving Ne*(3P2,0) and noble gases (Ng). In thermal and hyperthermal collisions probing interactions at intermediate and short R, the transition state [(Ne···Ng)+]e- is a molecular species described as a molecular ion core with an orbiting Rydberg electron in which the neon reagent behaves as a halogen atom (i.e., F) with high electron affinity promoting chemical oxidation. Conversely, subthermal collisions favor a different reaction mechanism: Ng chemi-ionization proceeds through another transition state [Ne*······Ng], a weakly bound diatomic-lengthened complex where Ne∗ reagent, behaving as a Na atom, loses its metastability and stimulates an electron ejection from M by a concerted emission-absorption of a "virtual"photon. This is a physical radiative mechanism promoting an effective photoionization. In the thermal regime of Ec, there is a competition between these two mechanisms. The proposed method overcomes previous approaches for the following reasons: (1) it is consistent with all assumptions invoked in previous theoretical descriptions dating back to 1970; (2) it provides a simple and general description able to reproduce the main experimental results from our and other laboratories during last 40 years; (3) it demonstrates that the two "exchange"and "radiative"mechanisms are simultaneously present with relative weights that change with Ec (this viewpoint highlights the fact that the "canonical"chemical oxidation process, dominant at high Ec, changes its nature in the subthermal regime to a direct photoionization process; therefore, it clarifies differences between the cold chemistry of terrestrial and interstellar environments and the energetic one of combustion and flames); (4) the proposed method explicitly accounts for the influence of the degree of valence orbital alignment on the selective role of each reaction channel as a function of Ec and also permits a description of the collision complex, a rotating adduct, in terms of different Hund's cases of angular momentum couplings that are specific for each reaction channel; (5) finally, the method can be extended to reaction mechanisms of redox, acid-base, and other important condensed phase reactions.

Quantum-State Controlled Reaction Channels in Chemi-ionization Processes: Radiative (Optical-Physical) and Exchange (Oxidative-Chemical) Mechanisms

Falcinelli S.
;
Vecchiocattivi F.;Pirani F.
2020

Abstract

Conspectus: Most chemical processes are triggered by electron or charge transfer phenomena (CT). An important class of processes involving CT are chemi-ionization reactions. Such processes are very common in nature, involving neutral species in ground or excited electronic states with sufficient energy (X*) to yield ionic products, and are considered as the primary initial step in flames. They are characterized by pronounced electronic rearrangements that take place within the collisional complex (X···M)∗ formed by approaching reagents, as shown by the following scheme, where M is an atomic or molecular target: X∗ + M → (X···M)∗ → [(X+···M) - (X···M+)]e- → via e- → CT (X···M)+ + e- → final ions. Despite their important role in fundamental and applied research, combustion, plasmas, and astrochemistry, a unifying description of these basic processes is still lacking. This Account describes a new general theoretical methodology that demonstrates, for the first time, that chemi-ionization reactions are prototypes of gas phase oxidation processes occurring via two different microscopic mechanisms whose relative importance varies with collision energy, Ec, and separation distance, R. These mechanisms are illustrated for simple collisions involving Ne*(3P2,0) and noble gases (Ng). In thermal and hyperthermal collisions probing interactions at intermediate and short R, the transition state [(Ne···Ng)+]e- is a molecular species described as a molecular ion core with an orbiting Rydberg electron in which the neon reagent behaves as a halogen atom (i.e., F) with high electron affinity promoting chemical oxidation. Conversely, subthermal collisions favor a different reaction mechanism: Ng chemi-ionization proceeds through another transition state [Ne*······Ng], a weakly bound diatomic-lengthened complex where Ne∗ reagent, behaving as a Na atom, loses its metastability and stimulates an electron ejection from M by a concerted emission-absorption of a "virtual"photon. This is a physical radiative mechanism promoting an effective photoionization. In the thermal regime of Ec, there is a competition between these two mechanisms. The proposed method overcomes previous approaches for the following reasons: (1) it is consistent with all assumptions invoked in previous theoretical descriptions dating back to 1970; (2) it provides a simple and general description able to reproduce the main experimental results from our and other laboratories during last 40 years; (3) it demonstrates that the two "exchange"and "radiative"mechanisms are simultaneously present with relative weights that change with Ec (this viewpoint highlights the fact that the "canonical"chemical oxidation process, dominant at high Ec, changes its nature in the subthermal regime to a direct photoionization process; therefore, it clarifies differences between the cold chemistry of terrestrial and interstellar environments and the energetic one of combustion and flames); (4) the proposed method explicitly accounts for the influence of the degree of valence orbital alignment on the selective role of each reaction channel as a function of Ec and also permits a description of the collision complex, a rotating adduct, in terms of different Hund's cases of angular momentum couplings that are specific for each reaction channel; (5) finally, the method can be extended to reaction mechanisms of redox, acid-base, and other important condensed phase reactions.
2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1479380
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