The potential energy surface and chemical kinetics for the reaction of HO with CO, which is an important process in both combustion and atmospheric chemistry, were computed using high-level ab initio quantum chemistry in conjunction with semiclassical transition state theory under the limiting cases of high and zero pressure. The reaction rate constants calculated from first principles agree extremely well with all available experimental data, which range in temperature over a domain that covers both combustion and terrestrial atmospheric chemistry. The role of quantum tunneling is confirmed to be extremely important, which supports recent work by Continetti and collaborators regarding the loss of hydrogen atoms from vibrationally excited states of HOCO. A sensitivity analysis has been carried out and serves as the basis for a plausible estimate of uncertainty in the calculations.
Keywords: HEAT protocol; atmospheric chemistry; combustion chemistry; quantum tuneling; semiclassical transition state theory.