Ion formation upon electron collisions with valine embedded in helium nanodroplets
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We report here experimental results for the electron ionization of large superfluid helium nanodroplets with sizes of about 105 atoms that are doped with valine and clusters of valine. Spectra of both cations and anions were monitored with high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (mass resolution >4000). Clear series of peaks with valine cluster sizes up to at least 40 and spaced by the mass of a valine molecule are visible in both the cation and anion spectra. Ion efficiency curves are presented for selected cations and anions at electron energies up to about 40 eV and these provide insight into the mode of ion formation. The measured onset of 24.59 eV for cations is indicative of valine ionization by He+ whereas broad resonances at 2, 10 and 22 eV (and beyond) in the formation of anions speak to the occurrence of various modes of dissociative electron attachment by collisions with electrons or He*− and the influence of droplet size on the relative importance of these processes. Comparisons are also made with gas phase results and these provide insight into a matrix effect within the superfluid helium nanodroplet.
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