Ionization of doped helium nanodroplets: Complexes of C(60) with water clusters


Water clusters are known to undergo an autoprotonation reaction upon ionization by photons or electron impact, resulting in the formation of (H(2)O)(n)H(3)O(+). Ejection of OH cannot be quenched by near-threshold ionization; it is only partly quenched when clusters are complexed with inert gas atoms. Mass spectra recorded by electron ionization of water-doped helium droplets show that the helium matrix also fails to quench OH loss. The situation changes drastically when helium droplets are codoped with C(60). Charged C(60)-water complexes are predominantly unprotonated; C(60)(H(2)O)(4)(+) and (C(60))(2)(H(2)O)(4)(+) appear with enhanced abundance. Another intense ion series is due to C(60)(H(2)O)(n)OH(+); dehydrogenation is proposed to be initiated by charge transfer between the primary He(+) ion and C(60). The resulting electronically excited C(60)(+)* leads to the formation of a doubly charged C(60)-water complex either via emission of an Auger electron from C(60)(+)*, or internal Penning ionization of the attached water complex, followed by charge separation within {C(60)(H(2)O)(n)}(2+). This mechanism would also explain previous observations of dehydrogenation reactions in doped helium droplets. Mass-analyzed ion kinetic energy scans reveal spontaneous (unimolecular) dissociation of C(60)(H(2)O)(n)(+). In addition to the loss of single water molecules, a prominent reaction channel yields bare C(60)(+) for sizes n=3, 4, or 6. Ab initio Hartree-Fock calculations for C(60)-water complexes reveal negligible charge transfer within neutral complexes. Cationic complexes are well described as water clusters weakly bound to C(60)(+). For n=3, 4, or 6, fissionlike desorption of the entire water complex from C(60)(H(2)O)(n)(+) energetically competes with the evaporation of a single water molecule. (C) 2010 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3436721]



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Journal of Chemical Physics



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