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Published June 18, 2003 | public
Journal Article

Ultrafast electron diffraction: complex landscapes of molecular structures in thermal and light-mediated reactions


Complex reactions involve the transformation of molecular structures with many atoms. Ultrafast electron diffraction is developed here to directly observe such transient structures. The level of complexity is demonstrated for both the thermal and light-mediated reactions involving the electrocyclic Cope bond rearrangement and ring opening of 1,3,5-cyclooctatriene. For the former, we determine the ground-state structures, and for the later we observe the transient structures in their non-equilibrium state. The selective structural determination reported here using pulse sequences would not have been possible without the high sensitivity and spatio-temporal resolution of ultrafast electron diffraction.

Additional Information

© 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. Received 14 April 2003, in final form 24 April 2003, Available online 11 June 2003. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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