Coulomb Explosion Imaging of Small Molecules

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Science  28 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4903, pp. 426-431
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4903.426


Most of our knowledge of the structures of free molecules comes from indirect observations that focus on other properties (for example, energy or mass spectra) that depend on structure. Recently, a new method has been developed that instead yields geometrical images of individual molecules. This method takes advantage of the large Coulomb repulsion of the nuclei within molecules rapidly stripped of their electrons. The first experiments with this new technique have already revealed structural images of several important species, such as positively charged methane ions.

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