Near-Threshold Inelastic Collisions Using Molecular Beams with a Tunable Velocity

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Science  15 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5793, pp. 1617-1620
DOI: 10.1126/science.1131867

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Molecular scattering behavior has generally proven difficult to study at low collision energies. We formed a molecular beam of OH radicals with a narrow velocity distribution and a tunable absolute velocity by passing the beam through a Stark decelerator. The transition probabilities for inelastic scattering of the OH radicals with Xe atoms were measured as a function of the collision energy in the range of 50 to 400 wavenumbers, with an overall energy resolution of about 13 wavenumbers. The behavior of the cross-sections for inelastic scattering near the energetic thresholds was accurately measured, and excellent agreement was obtained with cross-sections derived from coupled-channel calculations on ab initio computed potential energy surfaces.

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