Uncloaking the Quantum Nature of Inelastic Molecular Collisions

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Science  06 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6150, pp. 1076-1077
DOI: 10.1126/science.1244109

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Collisions between molecules can be reactive, resulting in a change in their chemical identity, or inelastic, resulting in a change in only their internal energy or orientation. On page 1094 of this issue, Chefdeville et al. (1) report on the predominant contribution of quantum-mechanical resonances to the inelastic scattering and excitation of molecular oxygen (O2) by molecular hydrogen (H2).