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Vacuum-UV negative photoion spectroscopy of CH4

Abstract : Using synchrotron radiation in the range 12-35 eV, negative ions are detected by mass spectrometry following vacuum-UV photoexcitation of methane. Ion yields for H-, CH- and CH2- are recorded, the spectra of CH- and CH2- for the first time. All ions display a linear dependence of signal with pressure, showing that they arise from unimolecular ion-pair dissociation. Cross sections for ion-pair formation are put onto an absolute scale by calibrating the signal strengths with those of F- from SF6 and CF4. Following normalisation to total vacuum-UV absorption cross sections, quantum yields for anion production are reported. There is a major discrepancy in the H- cross section with an earlier measurement, which remains unresolved. The anions arise from both direct and indirect ion-pair mechanisms. For a generic polyatomic molecule AB, the former is defined as AB --> A- + B+ (+ neutrals), the latter as the predissociative crossing of an initially-excited Rydberg state of AB by an ion-pair state. In a separate experiment, the threshold photoelectron spectrum of the second valence band of CH4, ionisation to CH4+ (A state, 2A1 symmetry) at 22.4 eV, is recorded with an instrumental resolution of 0.004 eV; many of the Rydberg states observed in indirect ion-pair formation converge to this state. The widths of the peaks are lifetime limited, increasing with increasing v in the nu 1 (a1) vibrational ladder. They are the first direct measurement of an upper value to the dissociation rate of these levels into fragment ions.
Keywords : Physical Sciences
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Nicola J Rogers, Matthew James Simpson, Richard P Tuckett, Ken F Dunn, Colin J Latimer. Vacuum-UV negative photoion spectroscopy of CH4. Molecular Physics, Taylor & Francis, 2010, 108 (07-09), pp.895-904. ⟨10.1080/00268970903535483⟩. ⟨hal-00596274⟩

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