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Femtosecond laser control of a chemical reaction

Potter, E. D. and Herek, J. L. and Pedersen, S. and Liu, Q. and Zewail, A. H. (1992) Femtosecond laser control of a chemical reaction. Nature, 355 (6355). pp. 66-68. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/355066a0.

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The critical stage in a chemical reaction — the progression through the transition state from reagents to products — occurs in less than a picosecond (10^(−12)s). Using laser pulses of femtosecond (10^(−15)s) duration it is possible to probe the nuclear motions throughout formation and break-up of the transition state. The coherence and very short duration of these femtosecond pulses provides a means to influence the course of the reaction during this stage if the time resolution is made sufficiently short. Here we describe a demonstration of such control of a chemical reaction on the femtosecond timescale. Using two sequential coherent laser pulses, we can control the reaction of iodine molecules with xenon atoms to form the product XeI by exciting the reactants through the transition state, in a two-step process. The yield of product XeI is modulated as the delay between the pulses is varied, reflecting its dependence on the nuclear motions of the reactants.

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Additional Information:© 1992 Nature Publishing Group. Received 13 November; accepted 3 December 1991. We thank R. W. Quan for help in preparing samples, and R. Donovan, D. Setser. B. Soep and I. Smith for discussions. This work was supported by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and by the NSF.
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Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6355
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150512-141422170
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57464
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 May 2015 21:27
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:50

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