This contribution summarizes a variety of results and ongoing activities, which contribute to our understanding of inelastic and reactive collisions involving hydrogen ions. In an overview of our present theoretical knowledge of various collision systems (m+n≤5), it is emphasized that although the required potential energy surfaces are well characterized, no detailed treatments of the collision dynamics are available to date, especially at the low energies required for astrochemistry. Instead of treating state-to-state dynamics with state of the art methods, predictions are still based on: (i) simple thermodynamical arguments, (ii) crude reaction models such as H atom exchange or proton jump, or (iii) statistical considerations used for describing processes proceeding via long-lived or strongly interacting collision complexes. A central problem is to properly account for the consequences of the fact that H and D are fermions and bosons, respectively.
In the experimental and results sections, it is emphasized that although a variety of innovative techniques are available and have been used for measuring rate coefficients, cross-sections or state-to-state transition probabilities, the definitive experiments are still pending. In the centre of this contribution are our activities on various m+n=5 systems. We report a few selected additional results for collisions of hydrogen ions with p-H2, o-H2, HD, D2 or well-defined mixtures of these neutrals. Most of the recent experiments are based on temperature variable multipole ion traps and their combination with pulsed gas inlets, molecular beams, laser probing or electron beams. Based on the state-specific model calculations, it is concluded that for completely understanding the gas phase formation and destruction of in a trap, an in situ characterization of all the experimental parameters is required with unprecedented accuracy. Finally, the need to understand the hydrogen chemistry relevant for dense pre-stellar cores is discussed.
- © 2006 The Royal Society