Dissociative electron attachment to pentaerythritol tetranitrate: Significant fragmentation near 0 eV

A. Edtbauer, P. Sulzer, A. Mauracher, Christian Mitterdorfer, FF da Silva, Stephan Denifl, T. D. Mark, Michael Probst, Yuri Fonseca da Silva Nunes, Paulo Manuel Assis Loureiro Limão-vieira

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Gas phase dissociative electron attachment (DEA) measurements to pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) are performed in a crossed electron-molecular beam experiment at high-energy resolution and high sensitivity. DEA is operative at very low energies close to similar to 0 eV showing unique features corresponding to a variety of fragment anions being formed. There is no evidence of the parent anion formation. The fragmentation yields are also observed for higher electron energies and are operative via several resonant features in the range of 0-12 eV. In contrast to nitroaromatic compounds, PETN decays more rapidly upon electron attachment and preferentially low-mass anions are formed. The dominant fragment ion formed through DEA is assigned to the nitrogen trioxide NO3- and represents about 80% of the total anion yield. Further intense ion signals are due to NO2- (11%) and O- (2.5%). The significant instability of PETN after attachment of an electron with virtually no kinetic energy confers a highly explosive nature to this compound.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134305
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2010


  • Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
  • Unique features
  • Dissociative electron attachment
  • Electron attachment
  • Electron energies
  • Fragment ions
  • Gasphase
  • High sensitivity
  • High-energy resolution
  • Ion signals
  • Low energies
  • Low-mass
  • Nitroaromatic compound
  • Parent anions


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