Dalian Coherent Light Source Reveals the Pathway of Water Photolysis to Produce Oxygen
Recently, by Yuan Kaijun, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences The research team led by Professor Yang Xueming used the Dalian coherent light source to reveal the oxygen produced by the photolysis of the three-body water molecule.
The results of their research were published today (April 30, 2021) in Nature Communications.
The VUV free electron laser facility of Dalian Coherent Light Source enables researchers to quantitatively evaluate the importance of H2O photochemistry for oxygen production.
“Our experimental results show that water can be decomposed into three parts under VUV excitation: one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, of which the O atom is in the 1D and 3P states. The three-body dissociation process is H2O is the dominant channel for photochemistry in the 90-110 nanometer region,” said Professor Yuan.
Quantitative measurement shows that about 20% of water molecules light-excited events produce oxygen atoms. Considering the abundance of water in a wide range of interstellar environments, such as the atmosphere of interstellar clouds, solar system comets, and even the primitive atmosphere of the earth, the oxygen produced by the photolysis of water must be an important process. The subsequent recombination of oxygen atoms produces oxygen, which represents an important way for oxygen production in the pre-biological world.