The Validity of the "Diradical" Hypothesis: Direct Femtoscond Studies of the Transition-State Structures

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Science  25 Nov 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5189, pp. 1359-1364
DOI: 10.1126/science.266.5189.1359


Direct studies of diradicals, the molecular species hypothesized to be archetypal of chemical bond transformations in many classes of reactions, have been made using femtosecond laser techniques with mass spectrometry in a molecular beam. These studies are aimed at "freezing" the diradicals in time and in the course of the reaction. The passage of these species through the transition-state region was observed and the effect of total energy and alkyl substitution on the rates of bond closure and cleavage was examined. The results establish the nature of these intermediates and define their existence during reactions.