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Science. 2007 Aug 24;317(5841):1061-4.

Breakdown of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation in the F+ o-D2 -> DF + D reaction.

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State Key Laboratory of Molecular Reaction Dynamics, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, Liaoning 116023, People's Republic of (P. R.) China.


The reaction of F with H2 and its isotopomers is the paradigm for an exothermic triatomic abstraction reaction. In a crossed-beam scattering experiment, we determined relative integral and differential cross sections for reaction of the ground F(2P(3/2)) and excited F*(2P(1/2)) spin-orbit states with D2 for collision energies of 0.25 to 1.2 kilocalorie/mole. At the lowest collision energy, F* is approximately 1.6 times more reactive than F, although reaction of F* is forbidden within the Born-Oppenheimer (BO) approximation. As the collision energy increases, the BO-allowed reaction rapidly dominates. We found excellent agreement between multistate, quantum reactive scattering calculations and both the measured energy dependence of the F*/F reactivity ratio and the differential cross sections. This agreement confirms the fundamental understanding of the factors controlling electronic nonadiabaticity in abstraction reactions.

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