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J Chem Phys. 2009 Jul 28;131(4):044319. doi: 10.1063/1.3180819.

Alkali-helium snowball complexes formed on helium nanodroplets.

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  • 1Physikalisches Institut, Universität Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

We systematically investigate the formation and stability of snowballs formed by femtosecond photoionization of small alkali clusters bound to helium nanodroplets. For all studied alkali species Ak = (Na,K,Rb,Cs) we observe the formation of snowballs Ak(+)He(N) when multiply doping the droplets. Fragmentation of clusters Ak(N) upon ionization appears to enhance snowball formation. In the case of Na and Cs we also detect snowballs Ak(2) (+)He(N) formed around Ak dimer ions. While the snowball progression for Na and K is limited to less than 11 helium atoms, the heavier atoms Rb and Cs feature wide distributions at least up to Ak(+)He(41). Characteristic steps in the mass spectra of Cs-doped helium droplets are found at positions consistent with predictions on the closure of the first shell of helium atoms around the Ak(+) ion based on variational Monte Carlo simulations.

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