Dissociative Electron Attachment to the Nitroamine HMX (Octahydro-1,3,5,7-Tetranitro-1,3,5,7-Tetrazocine)

Johannes Postler, Marcelo M. Goulart, Carolina Matias, Andreas Mauracher, Filipe Ferreira da Silva, Paul Scheier, Paulo Limão-Vieira, Stephan Denifl

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, dissociative electron attachment (DEA) measurements with gas phase HMX, octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine, C4H8N8O8, have been performed by means of a crossed electron-molecular beam experiment. The most intense signals are observed at 46 and 176 u and assigned to NO2 (-) and C3H6N5O4 (-), respectively. Anion efficiency curves for 15 negatively charged fragments have been measured in the electron energy region from about 0-20 eV with an energy resolution of 0.7 eV. Product anions are observed mainly in the low energy region, near 0 eV, arising from surprisingly complex reactions associated with multiple bond cleavages and structural and electronic rearrangement. The remarkable instability of HMX towards electron attachment with virtually zero kinetic energy reflects the highly explosive nature of this compound. Substantially different intensity ratios of resonances for common fragment anions allow distinguishing the nitroamines HMX and royal demolition explosive molecule (RDX) in negative ion mass spectrometry based on free electron capture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-752
Number of pages9
JournalJournal Of The American Society For Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Dissociation
  • Explosives
  • Free electron attachment
  • Nitroamines


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