Detecting Resonances

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Science  02 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5471, pp. 1599-1600
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5471.1599

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In this Perspective, Schatz discusses an important advance in the field of chemical reaction dynamics that was recently achieved with the observation of isolated resonances in gas phase bimolecular chemical reactions that have no intermediate bound states. The newly observed resonances occur near the top of a reaction barrier (the "transition state"), where one would not normally expect to find metastable states. Theoretical studies have predicted such states for years, but experimental evidence remained ambiguous. Two new studies now provide unequivocal evidence for these non-intuitive resonance states.