We report the first measurement of the vibrational- and rotational-state distributions in the NCO fragment resulting from photolysis of HNCO. Recent studies have drawn conclusions about the photochemistry of HNCO and the vibrational distribution in the NCO fragment from observations of the kinetic energy distribution of the H atom produced in this photolysis; however, there has been no direct observation of the NCO fragment itself. We use laser-induced fluorescence to detect the nascent NCO photoproducts and spectral simulations to extract vibrational-state populations. The rotational distributions, where we can measure them, show little excitation, and the vibrational energy preferentially appears in the bending mode. The vibrational-state distribution results directly from the excited-state geometry of the HNCO parent, in which the NCO group is bent. The dissociation proceeds from this bent NCO group to a linear NCO fragment, strongly exciting the bending mode. We find about 65 % of the total energy in relative translation of the fragments, while 30% goes into vibration and 5 % into rotation of NCO. I
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