Dissociative recombination


Dissociative recombination

Dissociative recombination is a process where a positive molecular ion recombines with an electron, and as a result, the neutral molecule dissociates. This reaction is important for extraterrestrial and atmospheric chemistry. On Earth, dissociative recombination is practically non-existent, as free electrons would react with any molecule (even neutral molecules) they encounter. Even in the best laboratory conditions, dissociative recombination is hard to observe.

In astrophysics, dissociative recombination is one of the main paths via which molecules are broken down, and other molecules are formed. The existence of dissociative recombination is possible due to the vacuum of the interstellar medium. A typical example of dissociative recombination in astrophysics is:

CH_3^+ + e^- \rightarrow CH_2 + H



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