Observing Femtosecond Fragmentation Using Ultrafast X-ray-Induced Auger Spectra


Molecules often fragment after photoionization in the gas phase. Usually, this process can only be investigated spectroscopically as long as there exists electron correlation between the photofragments. Important parameters, like their kinetic energy after separation, cannot be investigated. We are reporting on a femtosecond time-resolved Auger electron spectroscopy study concerning the photofragmentation dynamics of thymine. We observe the appearance of clearly distinguishable signatures from thymine′s neutral photofragment isocyanic acid. Furthermore, we observe a time-dependent shift of its spectrum, which we can attribute to the influence of the charged fragment on the Auger electron. This allows us to map our time-dependent dataset onto the fragmentation coordinate. The time dependence of the shift supports efficient transformation of the excess energy gained from photoionization into kinetic energy of the fragments. Our method is broadly applicable to the investigation of photofragmentation processes.

Applied Sciences
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.