Directional Dynamics in the Photodissociation of Oriented Molecules

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Science  19 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5665, pp. 1852-1854
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094186

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We observed directional dynamics in the photodissociation of an oriented molecule. When a laser dissociated hexapole-oriented carbonyl sulfide molecules, the three-dimensional recoil of carbon monoxide fragments, which we measured with ion imaging, was strongly asymmetric. We obtained a microscopic view of molecular bond breaking that revealed both the sign and the magnitude of the deflection angle of the fragment in the molecular frame. This experimental approach can be applied to study and control the three-dimensional dynamics of photoinitiated reactions of fixed molecules or molecules oriented by emerging techniques.

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