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photolytic cycle

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A naturally occurring sequence of chemical reactions that take place in the lower atmosphere, driven by the energy of ultraviolet radiation, in which nitrogen dioxide (NO2) breaks down and reforms, with ozone (O3) as an intermediate product: NO2+UV→NO+OO+O2O3O3+NO→NO2+O2

If the air contains unburned hydrocarbons from vehicle exhausts the natural cycle is disrupted and other compounds are produced, leading to photochemical smog.

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