Dynamical Resonances Accessible Only by Reagent Vibrational Excitation in the F + HD→HF + D Reaction

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Science  20 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6165, pp. 1499-1502
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246546

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Molecular beam studies over the past decade have elucidated many subtle quantum mechanical factors governing the influence of vibrational excitation on the outcome of elementary chemical reactions. However, these studies have generally had to focus on reagents that can be easily made to vibrate by direct absorption in the infrared (IR). Wang et al. (p. 1499) show that a variation on stimulated Raman pumping can efficiently excite the IR-inactive stretch vibration in the diatomic molecule, hydrogen deuteride (HD). As a result, they can probe the influence of that vibration on the outcome of the HD + F reaction. Through a combined spectroscopic and theoretical investigation, they uncover Feshbach resonances along the reaction coordinate that are only accessible through vibrational preexcitation.


Experimental limitations in vibrational excitation efficiency have previously hindered investigation of how vibrational energy might mediate the role of dynamical resonances in bimolecular reactions. Here, we report on a high-resolution crossed-molecular-beam experiment on the vibrationally excited HD(v = 1) + F → HF + D reaction, in which two broad peaks for backward-scattered HF(v′ = 2 and 3) products clearly emerge at collision energies of 0.21 kilocalories per mole (kcal/mol) and 0.62 kcal/mol from differential cross sections measured over a range of energies. We attribute these features to excited Feshbach resonances trapped in the peculiar HF(v′ = 4)–D vibrationally adiabatic potential in the postbarrier region. Quantum dynamics calculations on a highly accurate potential energy surface show that these resonance states correlate to the HD(v′ = 1) state in the entrance channel and therefore can only be accessed by the vibrationally excited HD reagent.

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