Complete Photo-Induced Breakup of the H2 Molecule as a Probe of Molecular Electron Correlation

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Science  16 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5755, pp. 1787-1789
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120263

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Despite decades of progress in quantum mechanics, electron correlation effects are still only partially understood. Experiments in which both electrons are ejected from an oriented hydrogen molecule by absorption of a single photon have recently demonstrated a puzzling phenomenon: The ejection pattern of the electrons depends sensitively on the bond distance between the two nuclei as they vibrate in their ground state. Here, we report a complete numerical solution of the Schrödinger equation for the double photoionization of H2. The results suggest that the distribution of photoelectrons emitted from aligned molecules reflects electron correlation effects that are purely molecular in origin.

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