The information for this section was also from a paper by Eric Herbst. There are many destruction reactions for H3+. The dominant destruction pathway in dense interstellar clouds is by proton transfer with a neutral collision partner. The most likely candidate for a destructive collision partner is the second most abundant molecule in space, CO.
- H3+ + CO → HCO+ + H2
The significant product of this reaction is HCO+, an important molecule for interstellar chemistry. Its strong dipole and high abundance make it easily detectable by radioastronomy. H3+ can also react with atomic oxygen to form OH+ and H2.
- H3+ + O → OH+ + H2
OH+ then usually reacts with more H2 to create further hydrogenated molecules.
- OH+ + H2 → OH2+ + H
- OH2+ + H2 → OH3+ + H
At this point, the reaction between OH3+ and H2 is no longer exothermic in interstellar clouds. The most common destruction pathway for OH3+ is dissociative recombination, yielding four possible sets of products: H2O + H, OH + H2, OH + 2H, and O + H2 + H. While water is a possible product of this reaction, it is not a very efficient product. Different experiments have suggested that water is created anywhere from 5–33% of the time. Water formation on grains is still considered the primary source of water in the interstellar medium.
The most common destruction pathway of H3+ in diffuse interstellar clouds is dissociative recombination. This reaction has multiple products. The major product is dissociation into three hydrogen atoms, which occurs roughly 75% of the time. The minor product is H2 and H, which occurs roughly 25% of the time.
Read more about this topic: Trihydrogen Cation
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