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J Phys Chem A. 2013 Aug 15;117(32):7102-6. doi: 10.1021/jp400368f. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Analyzing angular distributions for two-step dissociation mechanisms in velocity map imaging.

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Department of Chemistry and the James Franck Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Increasingly, velocity map imaging is becoming the method of choice to study photoinduced molecular dissociation processes. This paper introduces an algorithm to analyze the measured net speed, P(vnet), and angular, β(vnet), distributions of the products from a two-step dissociation mechanism, where the first step but not the second is induced by absorption of linearly polarized laser light. Typically, this might be the photodissociation of a C-X bond (X = halogen or other atom) to produce an atom and a momentum-matched radical that has enough internal energy to subsequently dissociate (without the absorption of an additional photon). It is this second step, the dissociation of the unstable radicals, that one wishes to study, but the measured net velocity of the final products is the vector sum of the velocity imparted to the radical in the primary photodissociation (which is determined by taking data on the momentum-matched atomic cophotofragment) and the additional velocity vector imparted in the subsequent dissociation of the unstable radical. The algorithm allows one to determine, from the forward-convolution fitting of the net velocity distribution, the distribution of velocity vectors imparted in the second step of the mechanism. One can thus deduce the secondary velocity distribution, characterized by a speed distribution P(v1,2°) and an angular distribution I(θ2°), where θ2° is the angle between the dissociating radical's velocity vector and the additional velocity vector imparted to the product detected from the subsequent dissociation of the radical.

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