Ultrafast Chemical Exchange Seen with 2D Vibrational Echoes

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Science  26 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5739, pp. 1333-1334
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117435

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Chemical exchange of species among different molecules occurs in many reactions. For solvent reactions, this exchange can occur on a time scale of picoseconds and is impossible to follow with conventional methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance. In his Perspective, Dlott discusses results reported in the same issue by Zheng et al. in which infrared laser pulses were used to observe chemical exchange reactions as phenol molecules formed solvent complexes in benzene liquid on a time scale of picoseconds. The method opens the possibility of a general method for studying fast chemical exchange in aqueous solvents and biomolecules.