Observation of Transient Anions That Do Not Decay through Dissociative Electron Attachment: New Pathways for Radiosensitization
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Low-energy electrons (LEEs) can very efficiently induce bond breaking via dissociative electron attachment (DEA). While DEA is ubiquitous, the importance of other reactions initiated by LEEs remains much more elusive. Here, we looked into this question by measuring highly accurate total cross sections for electron scattering from 1-methyl-5-nitroimidazole (1M5NI), a model radiosensitizer. The small uncertainty and high energy resolution allow us to identify many resonant features related to the formation of transient anions. In addition to novel insights about DEA reactions through the lower-lying resonances, our key finding is that the higher-lying resonances do not undergo DEA, implying alternative decay channels with significant cross sections. In particular, dissociation into two neutral fragments is probably involved in the case of 1M5NI. This finding has direct implications for the understanding of LEE-induced chemistry, particularly in the fundamental processes underlying the radiosensitization activity.
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