Excited Spectators

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Science  07 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5549, pp. 2055
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5549.2055b

If vibrational excitation of selected chemical bonds is to be used to control the outcome of chemical reactions, then it is necessary to determine what happens to vibrational energy in bonds that are not directly involved in product formation. Kim et al. followed the reaction of chlorine atoms with methane molecules in which two vibrational quanta of energy were deposited in different ways. When one C-H bond was excited to the second vibrational excited state (the |20> state), that energy went into the hydrogen chloride product and left the methyl product vibrationally cold. When two C-H bonds were each excited to the first vibrational excited state (the |11> state), one C-H bond in the methyl product was left vibrationally excited. These results show that neighboring bonds in more complex molecules can act as passive “spectators” to those undergoing reaction.—PDS

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/ja17180c.

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