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Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Sep 16;117(12):123001. Epub 2016 Sep 13.

Formation of CN^{-}, C_{3}N^{-}, and C_{5}N^{-} Molecules by Radiative Electron Attachment and their Destruction by Photodetachment.

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Department of Physics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa 50311, USA.
Laboratoire Aimé Cotton, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud, ENS Cachan, Université Paris-Saclay, bâtiment 505, Campus d'Orsay, 91405 Orsay cedex, France.
Department of Physics & Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


The existence of negative ions in interstellar clouds has been associated for several decades with the process of radiative electron attachment. In this Letter, we report compelling evidence supporting the fact that the radiative attachment of a low-energy electron is inefficient to form the carbon chain anions CN^{-}, C_{3}N^{-}, and C_{5}N^{-} detected in interstellar clouds. The validity of the approach is confirmed by good agreement with experimental data obtained for the inverse photodetachment process, which represents the major cause of anion destruction in interstellar space. As a consequence, we suggest alternative models that could explain the formation of anions.

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