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Femtosecond Time-resolved Imaging of Chiral Molecules

Date Do, 22.10.2015 - Do, 22.10.2015
Time 16.30
Speaker Prof. Henrik Stapelfeldt, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Location EPF Lausanne, CH G1 495
Program I will discuss how it is possible to directly image torsion of chiral molecules, consisting of two benzene rings linked by a carbon-carbon single bond, on their natural femtosecond time-scale. The torsional motion is of special importance because it is the fundamental reaction coordinate linking the left-handed and the right-handed mirror forms of the chiral molecule.

Experimentally, the molecules are initially fixed-in-space by laser-induced 3-dimensional adiabatic alignment to provide the best view of them. Next, torsion is induced by a femtosecond pump pulse and monitored in real time by Coulomb exploding the molecules with a delayed, intense femtosecond probe pulse and detecting the emission direction of the ionic fragments. The torsional motion occurs with a period of 1.3 ps and an amplitude of 3 degrees which can be doubled by using two optimally synchronized pump pulses. The torsion persists for more than 150 ps corresponding to approximately 120 torsional oscillations. Prospect for using the method to determine the absolute configuration of chiral molecules will also be discussed.
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