PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

The Mass-Independent Ozone Isotope Effect

Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 226
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063648

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Equilibrium chemical processes such as isotopic exchange, diffusion, evaporation, and condensation are sensitive to isotopic mass, and different isotopes may thus be incorporated into molecules at different rates. There are also mass-independent fractionation processes, for example, atmospheric ozone formation. As Thiemens explains in his Perspective, these processes have been much harder to explain. Gao and Marcus have now developed a theory that accounts for ozone isotopic measurements and extends fundamental understanding of gas phase reaction and collisional processes.