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Electronically Excited OH Super-rotors from Water Photodissociation by Using Vacuum Ultraviolet Free-Electron Laser Pulses

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journal contribution
posted on 28.08.2020, 15:05 by Yao Chang, Feng An, Qinming Li, Zijie Luo, Li Che, Jiayue Yang, Zhichao Chen, Weiqing Zhang, Guorong Wu, Xixi Hu, Daiqian Xie, Kaijun Yuan, Xueming Yang
The fragmentation dynamics of water in a superexcited state play an important role in the ionosphere of the planets and in the photodissociation region (PDR) of the planetary nebula. In this Letter, we experimentally study the fragmentation dynamics of H2O with the energy above its ionization potential initiated by vacuum ultraviolet free-electron laser pulses. The experimental results indicate that the binary fragmentation channels H + OH and the triple channels O + 2H both present at 96.4 nm photolysis. Electronically excited OH super-rotors (v = 0, N ≥ 36, or v = 1, N ≥ 34), with the internal energy just above the OH (A) dissociation energy, are observed for the first time, which are only supported by the large centrifugal barriers. An absolute cross section of these super-rotors is estimated to be 0.7(±0.3) × 10–18 cm2. The tunnelling rates of these extremely rotationally excited states are also analyzed. This work shows a spectacular example of energy transfer from a photon to fragment rotation through photodissociation.