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Direct observation of bimolecular reactions of ultracold KRb molecules

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Science  29 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6469, pp. 1111-1115
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay9531

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Glimpsing an exchange of partners

When two diatomic molecules collide, they can sometimes swap partners. For instance, two potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules can produce K2 and Rb2. The four-atom intermediate formed upon collision is typically too scarce and short-lived to spot, even using ultrafast techniques. Hu et al. circumvented this problem by studying the reaction at temperatures approaching 0 kelvin. Using a combination of mass spectrometry and velocity-map imaging, the authors directly characterized the ionized K2Rb2 complex as well as the reactant and product populations.

Science, this issue p. 1111

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