Diffractive imaging of dissociation and ground-state dynamics in a complex molecule


We have investigated the structural dynamics in photoexcited 1,2-diiodotetrafluoroethane molecules (C2F4I2) in the gas phase experimentally using ultrafast electron diffraction and theoretically using FOMO-CASCI excited-state dynamics simulations. The molecules are excited by an ultraviolet femtosecond laser pulse to a state characterized by a transition from the iodine 5p⊥ orbital to a mixed 5p∥σ hole and CF∙2 antibonding orbital, which results in the cleavage of one of the carbon-iodine bonds. We have observed, with sub-Angstrom resolution, the motion of the nuclear wave packet of the dissociating iodine atom followed by coherent vibrations in the electronic ground state of the C2F4I radical. The radical reaches a stable classical (nonbridged) structure in less than 200 fs.

Physical Review A
Thomas Wolf
Thomas Wolf
Staff Scientist

My research is focused on discovering structure-function relationships in ultrafast photochemistry to better understand and eventually control this type of reactions.