World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000594874
Reproduction Date:

Title: Autoionization  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Interatomic Coulombic decay, Fano resonance, Double ionization, Molecular physics, Quantum chemistry
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Autoionization is a process by which an atom or a molecule in an excited state spontaneously emits one of the outer-shell electrons, thus going from a state with charge Z to a state with charge Z + 1, for example from an electrically neutral state to a singly ionized state.[1]

Autoionizing states are usually short-lived, and thus can be described as Fano resonances rather than normal bound states. They can be observed as variations in the ionization cross sections of atoms and molecules, by photoionization, electron ionization and other methods.

As examples, several Fano resonances in the extreme ultraviolet photoionization spectrum of neon are attributed to autoionizing states.[2] Some are due to one-electron excitations, such as a series of three strong similarly shaped peaks at energies of 45.546, 47.121 and 47.692 eV which are interpreted as 1s2 2s1 2p6 np (1P) states for n = 3, 4 and 5. These states of neutral neon lie beyond the first ionization energy because it takes more energy to excite a 2s electron than to remove a 2p electron. When autoionization occurs, the np → 2s de-excitation provides the energy needed to remove one 2p electron and form the Ne+ ground state.

Other resonances are attributed to two-electron excitations. The same neon photoionization spectrum considered above contains a fourth strong resonance in the same region at 44.979 eV but with a very different shape, which is interpreted as the 1s2 2s2 2p4 3s 3p (1P) state.[2] For autoionization, the 3s → 2p transition provides the energy to remove the 3p electron.

Electron ionization allows the observation of some states which cannot be excited by photons due to selection rules. In neon for example again, the excitation of triplet states is forbidden by the spin selection rule ΔS = 0, but the 1s2 2s2 2p4 3s 3p (3P) has been observed by electron ionization at 42.04 eV.[3]

If a core electron is missing, a positive ion can autoionize further and lose a second electron in the Auger effect. In neon, X-ray excitation can remove a 1s electron, producing an excited Ne+ ion with configuration 1s1 2s2 2p6. In the subsequent Auger process a 2s → 1s transition and simultaneous emission of a second electron from 2p leads to the Ne2+ 1s2 2s1 2p5 ionic state.

Molecules, in addition, can have vibrationally autoionizing Rydberg states, in which the small amount of energy necessary to ionize a Rydberg state is provided by vibrational excitation.[4]


  1. ^ IUPAC, Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version:  (2006–) "auto-ionization".
  2. ^ a b Codling, K., Madden, R.P. and Ederer, D.L. (1967), Resonances in the Photoionization Continuum of Ne I (20-150 eV), Phys. Rev. 155, 26-37
  3. ^ Bolduc, E., Quéméner, J.J. and Marmet, P. Autoionizing 2s2 2p4 3s 3l States of Ne and Related Ne- Resonances, J. Chem. Phys. 57, 1957-66
  4. ^ Pratt, S.T. (2005), "Vibrational Autoionization in Polyatomic Molecules", Annual Review of Physical Chemistry 56 (1): 281,  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.