Issue 19, 2017

Electron-triggered chemistry in HNO3/H2O complexes


Polar stratospheric clouds, which consist mainly of nitric acid containing ice particles, play a pivotal role in stratospheric chemistry. We investigate mixed nitric acid–water clusters (HNO3)m(H2O)n, m ≈ 1–6, n ≈ 1–15, in a laboratory molecular beam experiment using electron attachment and mass spectrometry and interpret our experiments using DFT calculations. The reactions are triggered by the attachment of free electrons (0–14 eV) which leads to subsequent intracluster ion–molecule reactions. In these reactions, the nitrate anion NO3 turns out to play the central role. This contradicts the electron attachment to the gas-phase HNO3 molecule, which leads almost exclusively to NO2. The nitrate containing clusters are formed through at least three different reaction pathways and represent terminal product ions in the reaction cascade initiated by the electron attachment. Besides, the complex reaction pathways represent a new hitherto unrecognized source of atmospherically important OH and HONO molecules.

Graphical abstract: Electron-triggered chemistry in HNO3/H2O complexes

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
23 Feb 2017
21 Mar 2017
First published
24 Mar 2017
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017,19, 11753-11758

Electron-triggered chemistry in HNO3/H2O complexes

J. Lengyel, M. Ončák, J. Fedor, J. Kočišek, A. Pysanenko, M. K. Beyer and M. Fárník, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 11753 DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01205E

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity