Destruction Rate of H3+ by Low-Energy Electrons Measured in a Storage-Ring Experiment

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Science  11 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5148, pp. 785-787
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5148.785


Knowledge of the abundance of H3+ is needed in interstellar and planetary atmospheric chemistry. An important destruction mechanism of H3+ is low-energy electron impact followed by dissociation, but estimates of the reaction rate span several orders of magnitude. As an attempt to resolve this uncertainty, the cross section for dissociative recombination of vibrationally cold H3+ has been measured with an ion storage ring down to collision energies below 1 millielectron volt. A rate coefficient of 1.15 x 10-7 cubic centimeters per second at 300 kelvin was deduced. The cross section scaled with collision energy according to E–1.15, giving thee rate a temperature dependence of T–0.65.