Hydrogenated pyrene: Statistical single-carbon loss below the knockout threshold
An ongoing discussion revolves around the question of what effect hydrogenation has on carbon backbone fragmentation in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In order to shed more light on this issue, we have measured absolute single carbon loss cross sections in collisions between native or hydrogenated pyrene cations (C16H+10+m, m = 0, 6, 16) and He as functions of center-of-mass energies down to 20 eV. Classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations give further insight into energy transfer processes and also yield m-dependent threshold energies for prompt (femtoseconds) carbon knockout. Such fast, non-statistical fragmentation processes dominate CHx-loss for native pyrene (m = 0), while much slower statistical fragmentation processes contribute significantly to single-carbon loss for the hydrogenated molecules (m = 6 and m = 16). The latter is shown by measurements of large CHx-loss cross sections far below the MD knockout thresholds for C16H+16 and C16H+26.
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