CO2-rich planetary atmospheres are continuously exposed to ionising radiation driving major photochemical processes. In the Martian atmosphere, CO2 clusters are predicted to exist at high altitudes motivating a deeper understanding of their photochemistry. In this joint experimental-theoretical study, we investigate the photoreactions of CO2 clusters (≤2 nm) induced by soft X-ray ionisation. We observe dramatically enhanced production of O2- from photoionized CO2 clusters compared to the case of the isolated molecule and identify two relevant reactions. Using quantum chemistry calculations and multi-coincidence mass spectrometry, we pinpoint the origin of this enhancement: A size-dependent structural transition of the clusters from a covalently bonded arrangement to a weakly bonded polyhedral geometry that activates an exothermic reaction producing O+2. Our results unambiguously demonstrate that the photochemistry of small clusters/particles will likely have a strong influence on the ion balance in atmospheres.
|Status||Published - 2022 feb. 4|
- Teoretisk kemi
- Atom- och molekylfysik och optik