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J Chem Phys. 2012 Aug 7;137(5):054202. doi: 10.1063/1.4739315.

Merged-beams for slow molecular collision experiments.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA.

Abstract

Molecular collisions can be studied at very low relative kinetic energies, in the milliKelvin range, by merging codirectional beams with much higher translational energies, extending even to the kiloKelvin range, provided that the beam speeds can be closely matched. This technique provides far more intensity and wider chemical scope than methods that require slowing both collision partners. Previously, at far higher energies, merged beams have been widely used with ions and/or neutrals formed by charge transfer. Here, we assess for neutral, thermal molecular beams the range and resolution of collision energy that now appears attainable, determined chiefly by velocity spreads within the merged beams. Our treatment deals both with velocity distributions familiar for molecular beams formed by effusion or supersonic expansion, and an unorthodox variant produced by a rotating supersonic source capable of scanning the lab beam velocity over a wide range.

PMID:
22894340
DOI:
10.1063/1.4739315

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