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Tailored femtosecond laser pulses from a computer-controlled pulse shaper were used to optimize the branching ratios of different organometallic photodissociation reaction channels. The optimization procedure is based on the feedback from reaction product quantities in a learning evolutionary algorithm that iteratively improves the phase of the applied femtosecond laser pulse. In the case of CpFe(CO)2Cl, it is shown that two different bond-cleaving reactions can be selected, resulting in chemically different products. At least in this case, the method works automatically and finds optimal solutions without previous knowledge of the molecular system and the experimental environment.

  • * Present address: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, 82230 Wessling, Germany.

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