Destruction Rate of H3plus by Low-Energy Electrons Measured in a Storage-Ring Experiment

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Knowledge of the abundance of H3plus is needed in interstellar and planetary atmospheric chemistry.An important destruction mechanism of H3plus 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 H3plus has been measured with an ion storage ring down to collision energies below 1 millielectron volt. A rate coefficient of 1.15 times 10minus 7 cubic centimeters per second at 300 kelvin was deduced. The cross section scaled with collision energy according to Eminus 1.15, giving the rate a temperature dependence of Tminus 0.65.

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