Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 10303-10325, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Deuterium fractionation in formaldehyde photolysis: chamber experiments and RRKM theory
E. J. K. Nilsson1, J. A. Schmidt2, and M. S. Johnson2
1Division of Combustion Physics, Department of Physics, Lund University, P.O. Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
2Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 5, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. While isotope effects in formaldehyde photolysis are the key link between the δD of methane emissions with the δD of atmospheric in situ hydrogen production, the mechanism and the extent of their pressure dependencies is not adequately described. The pressure dependence of the photolysis rates of the mono- and di-deuterated formaldehyde isotopologues HDCO and D2CO relative to the parent isotopologue H2CO was investigated using RRKM theory and experiment. D2CO and H2CO were photolysed in a static reaction chamber at bath gas pressures of 50, 200, 400, 600 and 1000 mbar; these experiments compliment and extend our earlier work with HDCO vs. H2CO. The UV lamps used for photolysis emit light at wavelengths that mainly dissociate formaldehyde into molecular products, CO and H2 or D2. A model was constructed using RRKM theory to calculate the lifetime of excited formaldehyde on the S0 surface to describe the observed pressure dependent photolytic fractionation of deuterium. The effect of deuteration on the RRKM lifetime of the S0 state is not the main cause of the experimentally observed isotope effect. We propose that there is an additional previously unrecognised isotopic fractionation in the rate of transfer of population from the initially excited S1 state onto the S0 surface.

Citation: Nilsson, E. J. K., Schmidt, J. A., and Johnson, M. S.: Deuterium fractionation in formaldehyde photolysis: chamber experiments and RRKM theory, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 10303-10325, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-10303-2013, 2013.
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