Time-Resolved Molecular Frame Dynamics of Fixed-in-Space CS2 Molecules

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Science  13 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5920, pp. 1464-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.1169183

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Random orientation of molecules within a sample leads to blurred observations of chemical reactions studied from the laboratory perspective. Methods developed for the dynamic imaging of molecular structures and processes struggle with this, as measurements are optimally made in the molecular frame. We used laser alignment to transiently fix carbon disulfide molecules in space long enough to elucidate, in the molecular reference frame, details of ultrafast electronic-vibrational dynamics during a photochemical reaction. These three-dimensional photoelectron imaging results, combined with ongoing efforts in molecular alignment and orientation, presage a wide range of insights obtainable from time-resolved studies in the molecular frame.

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