A Caltech Library Service

Femtosecond laser observations of molecular vibration and rotation

Dantus, M. and Bowman, R. M. and Zewail, A. H. (1990) Femtosecond laser observations of molecular vibration and rotation. Nature, 343 (6260). pp. 737-739. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/343737a0.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Ultrafast molecular vibrations and rotations are the fundamental motions that characterize chemical bonding and determine reaction dynamics at the molecular level. The timescales for these motions are typically 10^(−10) s for vibrations and 10^(−13) s for rotations. For decades, time-integrated (frequency-resolved) spectros-copy has provided a powerful tool for probing the dynamics of motion, but the motions themselves are not 'seen' directly in real-time. With femtosecond laser techniques it is now possible to follow the motions of isolated molecular systems as they occur. The requirement is that the system is excited (for vibration) and aligned (for rotation) on a timescale shorter than the vibrational and rotational periods. Here we report real-time observations of these molecular motions. The system—in this case, molecular iodine—is prepared in the particular state(s) of interest by coherent excitation with an initial femtosecond laser pulse, and the subsequent motions are probed with successive femtosecond pulses. The probe monitors changes in the interatomic distance (vibration) or molecular orientation (rotation), so that the measured signal provides direct 'snapshots' of the molecular motions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Additional Information:© 1990 Nature Publishing Group. Received 19 December 1989; accepted 25 January 1990. This work was supported by the NSF.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:6260
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150407-154455895
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:56447
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Apr 2015 23:08
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:59

Repository Staff Only: item control page