In recent years we have carried out extensive studies of the behaviour of ions in helium droplets. To make cations electron impact is used, leading initially to either He+ or electronically excited helium, He*. He+ can transfer its charge to a dopant inside the droplet while He* can ionize a dopant by Penning ionization. We have investigated these processes for a range of molecules. More recently one of us (Andrew M. Ellis) has established a collaboration with the group of Professor Paul Scheier (Institute of Ion Physics, University of Innsbruck: http://homepage.uibk.ac.at/~c72225/) to explore both cations and anions found in helium nanodroplets. For example, we have recently observed electron attachment to C60 clusters in helium nanodroplets leading to the formation of dianions, a first in helium nanodroplets.
Mass spectrum recorded for clusters of methanol with water (recorded at the University of Innsbruck)
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