Formation of negative and positive ions in the radiosensitizer nimorazole upon low-energy electron collisions

The Journal of Chemical Physics, Volume 154, Issue 7, February 2021. A comprehensive investigation of low-energy electron attachment and electron ionization of the nimorazole radiosensitizer used in cancer radiation therapy is reported by means of a gas-phase crossed beam experiment in an electron energy range from 0 eV to 70 eV. Regarding negative ion formation, we discuss the formation of fifteen fragment anions in the electron energy range of 0 eV–10 eV, where the most intense signal is assigned to the nitrogen dioxide anion NO2−. The other fragment anions have been assigned to form predominantly from a common temporary negative ion state close to 3 eV of the nitroimidazole moiety, while the morpholine moiety seems to act only as a spectator in the dissociative electron attachment event to nimorazole. Quantum chemical calculations have been performed to help interpreting the experimental data with thermochemical thresholds, electron affinities, and geometries of some of the neutral molecules. As far as positive ion formation is concerned, the mass spectrum at the electron energy of 70 eV shows a weakly abundant parent ion and C5H10NO+ as the most abundant fragment cation. We report appearance energy (AE) measurements for six cations. For the intact nimorazole molecular cation, the AE of 8.16 ± 0.05 eV was obtained, which is near the presently calculated adiabatic ionization energy.