1. State of art in the research field
Electron-molecule interactions play a decisive role in many chemical reactions relevant in, e.g., environmental sciences, plasma processes, and many other applications. Of particular interest are fragmentation processes leading to the formation of chemically active radicals. Despite the significant advances in this field (see, e.g., the proceedings of ICPEAC - the biannual International Conference on the Physics of Electronic and Atomic Collisions for detailed account), a full scale theoretical treatment is still not possible for polyatomic molecules. Moreover, with an exception of few model systems (like e-Na2, recently studied in our group ), little is known about the influence of vibrational degrees of freedom on electron-molecule interaction. Studies of collisions of molecules with slow electrons (and this is where the non-local electron-molecule interactions may become important) require high electron energy resolution, which is technically difficult to achieve . Extensive work has been devoted to the preparation and investigation of high Rydberg states, which can be alternatively used in the low energy electron attachment experiments . Recent experimental advances in our laboratory show that interaction of electrons in high Na Rydberg orbits with Na2 molecules depend strongly on their vibrational excitation, but the presence of the remaining core ion assigns a three-body nature to this interaction .
O. Kaufmann, A. Ekers, C. Gebauer-Rochholz, K. U. Mettendorf, M. Keil, and K. Bergmann, "Dissociative charge transfer from highly excited Na Rydberg atoms to vibrationally excited Na2 molecules", Int. J. Mass. Spectrom. 205, 233 (2001).