Fragment ion energy spectra of the water molecule have been measured in conventional crossed-beam experiments by the impact of 46 keV/u energy, singly charged ions (SCIs) and 4.3 keV/u energy, highly charged ions (HCIs). Double differential cross sections have been determined and a comparative analysis has been performed. We found that the fragmentation spectra for SCIs and HCIs are very similar, indicating that both collisions lead to the same fragmentation channels. This suggests that the Coulomb explosion of the water molecule is dominantly determined by the charge state of the transient molecular ions, and it is almost independent from the primary ionization mechanism. Differences were observed not only between the SCI and HCI impact-induced fragmentation cross sections, but between those obtained by the 60 keV N6+ and 70 keV O7+ projectiles. The differences were attributed to the selectivity of the electron capture process for HCIs. Multiple target ionization cross sections have been deduced from the fragment ion spectra. We found contributions of up to fivefold ionization for SCIs and up to sixfold ionization for HCIs.
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