The generation of one or more ions. It may occur, e.g. by loss of an electron from a neutral molecular entity, by the unimolecular heterolysis of such an entity into two or more ions, or by a heterolytic substitution reaction involving neutral molecules, such as:
The loss of an electron from a singly, doubly, etc. charged cation is called second, third, etc.
ionization. This terminology is used especially in mass spectroscopy.
See also: dissociation, ionization energy
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077. 'Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)' on page 1127 (https://doi.org/10.1351/pac199466051077)