Electron detachment from O− is important for understanding of lightning-induced upper atmospheric discharges. Contrary to previous studies, Rayment and Moruzzi (1978) (RM78) argue that the associative detachment reaction of O− with N2 proceeds with N2 in its ground state. Here, we analyze the experimental setup in RM78 and demonstrate that vibrationally excited N2 may have in fact contaminated the results, the theoretical approach in RM78 requires corrections, and the rate calculations provided in RM78 are inconsistent. As the vibrational temperature of N2 remains relatively low in the initial stages of gas discharges in air, i.e., streamer formation, we conclude that if in fact vibrationally excited N2 is required for the O− + N2 → N2O + e reaction to proceed, the process will happen only in later stages of the discharge, e.g., during streamer to leader transition. Controlled experiments are required to reconcile the literature on the reaction of O− with ground state N2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)