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Energetic Species in Condensed Oxygen/Ozone

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Final rept. 1 Apr 1998-1 FEb 1999

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The main objective of this work is to investigate cryogenic solids containing ozone O3, oxygen molecules O2 and oxygen atoms O to evaluate their potential as components of an advanced propulsion system. SRI examined reactive processes in involved in the decomposition of these solids with a vision toward creating a material that is less sensitive to unexpected explosion. We constructed an apparatus and proposed to study multilayer structures incorporating thin alternating layers of O2 and O3 to determine their potential for increasing the density of O3 in O2 while maintaining an acceptable margin of safety. The premature termination of the effort after less than one year of a proposed three-year effort caused a significant reduction in the proposed work. Techniques of isotopic substation, thin-film matrix sandwich layers, and pump-probe picosecond spectroscopy were proposed for examination of the underlying processes in the O3 O2 solids. Important objective in the first year was constructed of a new cryogenic apparatus to decrease the achievable temperature 4K. This goal was achieved. This apparatus was required to investigate the introduction oxygen atoms in a solid O2 matrix Finding direct spectroscopic evidence of large quantities of trapped oxygen atoms was an important new direction, given recent indirect measurements of trapped atoms by a research group at University of California, Irvine. From our one-year effort we concluded that oxygen atoms were not trapped in significant quantities in the O2 matrix at 6 K because we could find no spectroscopic evidence for their later reaction. Concurrently with our investigation, the conclusions of the Irving work were modified, suggesting previously unexpected experimental issues contributed to their observation.

Subject Categories:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy

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