3 years ago

Quantum control of molecular collisions at 1 kelvin

William E. Perreault, Nandini Mukherjee, Richard N. Zare

Measurement of vector correlations in molecular scattering is an indispensable tool for mapping out interaction potentials. In a coexpanded supersonic beam, we have studied the rotationally inelastic process wherein deuterium hydride (HD) (v = 1, j = 2) collides with molecular deuterium (D2) to form HD (v = 1, j = 1), where v and j are the vibrational and rotational quantum numbers, respectively. HD (v = 1, j = 2) was prepared by Stark-induced adiabatic Raman passage, with its bond axis aligned preferentially parallel or perpendicular to the lab-fixed relative velocity. The coexpansion brought the collision temperature down to 1 kelvin, restricting scattering to s and p partial waves. Scattering angular distributions showed a dramatic stereodynamic preference (~3:1) for perpendicular versus parallel alignment. The four-vector correlation measured between the initial and final velocities and the initial and final rotational angular momentum vectors of HD provides insight into the strong anisotropic forces present in the collision process.

Publisher URL: http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/358/6361/356

DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3116

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