Department of Physics and Astronomy: Publications and Other Research


Date of this Version

August 2004


Published in PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS 93:6 (6 Aug 2004). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.068101 © 2004 The American Physical Society. Used by permission.


Collisions of 0– 4 eV electrons with thin DNA films are shown to produce single strand breaks. The yield is sharply structured as a function of electron energy and indicates the involvement of π* shape resonances in the bond breaking process. The cross sections are comparable in magnitude to those observed in other compounds in the gas phase in which π* electrons are transferred through the molecule to break a remote bond. The results therefore support aspects of a theoretical study by Barrios et al. [J. Phys. B 106, 7991 (2002)] indicating that such a mechanism could produce strand breaks in DNA

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