The link between physics and chemistry in track modelling
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The physical structure of a radiation track provides the initial conditions for the modelling of radiation chemistry. These initial conditions are not perfectly understood, because there are important gaps between what is provided by a typical track structure model and what is required to start the chemical model. This paper addresses the links between the physics and chemistry of tracks, with the intention of identifying those problems that need to be solved in order to obtain an accurate picture of the initial conditions for the purposes of modelling chemistry. These problems include the reasons for the increased yield of ionisation relative to homolytic bond breaking in comparison with the gas phase. A second area of great importance is the physical behaviour of low-energy electrons in condensed matter (including thermolisation and solvation). Many of these processes are not well understood, but they can have profound effects on the transient chemistry in the track. Several phenomena are discussed, including the short distance between adjacent energy loss events, the molecular nature of the underlying medium, dissociative attachment resonances and the ability of low-energy electrons to excite optically forbidden molecular states. Each of these phenomena has the potential to modify the transient chemistry substantially and must therefore be properly characterised before the physical model of the track can be considered to be complete.
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