Mass spectrometric studies of gas phase reactions of atoms and free radicals
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Gas phase atom reactions, in particular those of hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms, have long been of interest to research workers in many branches of science. Over 60 years ago, Lewis discovered a golden-yellow afterglow which persisted in a vessel containing nitrogen at low pressures, after an electrical discharge was passed through it. Strutt after examining the properties of this glowing gas, and its behaviour when various other substances were added to it, suggested that many of its properties could be attributed to the presence of nitrogen atoms and he named it “active nitrogen”. Langmur at this time also demonstrated that hydrogen atoms could be obtained by dissociation of molecular hydrogen on a tungsten filament. As with nitrogen, another long-established technique for the production of atoms from molecular hydrogen is the use of an electric discharge in gas at low pressures (0.1 to 1 torr). This method was particularly developed by Wood and Bonhoeffe during the 1920's. Similarly oxygen atoms were produced and direct studies of their reactions with many additives were made in the late 1920's and early 1930's, examples being the work of Geib, Harteck, Kopsch, Rodebush and others.