Laser Probing of Chemical Reaction Dynamics

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Science  22 Feb 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4689, pp. 889-895
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4689.889


Lasers are used in increasingly sophisticated ways to carry out reactions between molecules in selected vibrational, rotational, and electronic states and to probe the product states of chemical reactions. Such investigations are providing unprecedented insights into chemical reaction dynamics, the study of the detailed motions that molecules undergo in simple chemical reactions. In many cases it is possible to describe the influence that specific types of molecular excitation have on reactive events. Experiments are also being carried out to leam about chemical reactivity as a function of the alignment of reagents. There is increasing excitement concerning the potential of laser methods to interrogate the transition states of molecular reactions.