Failure of hydrogenation in protecting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from fragmentation [GA]

A recent study of soft X-ray absorption in native and hydrogenated coronene cations, C$_{24}$H$_{12+m}^+$ $m=0-7$, led to the conclusion that additional hydrogen atoms protect (interstellar) Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules from fragmentation [Reitsma et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 053002 (2014)]. The present experiment with collisions between fast (30-200 eV) He atoms and pyrene (C$_{16}$H$_{10+m}^+$, $m=0$, 6, and 16) and simulations without reference to the excitation method suggests the opposite. We find that the absolute carbon-backbone fragmentation cross section does not decrease but increases with the degree of hydrogenation for pyrene molecules.

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M. Gatchell, M. Stockett, N. Ruette, et. al.
Wed, 28 Oct 15

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures