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Radiationless relaxation in “large” molecules: Experimental evidence for preparation of true molecular eigenstates and Born-Oppenheimer states by a coherent light source

By A. H. Zewail, T. E. Orlowski and K. E. Jones


Photon absorption and emission by molecules that undergo radiationless transitions are examined using the single modes of lasers having well-defined coherence properties. Contrary to the usual beliefs, where it is assumed that the molecule is prepared in a Born-Oppenheimer singlet state and then “crosses-over” to other states (vibrationally “hot” singlets and/or triplets), it is shown experimentally that the true eigenstates of the molecule can be prepared, even in “large” molecules, if the laser correlation time is relatively long and the molecular relaxation is made slow. On the other hand, lasers with short (psec) correlation time have yielded effectively the singlet Born-Oppenheimer state, which has a much shorter lifetime than the true eigenstates. Effects of magnetic fields and temperature are also reported. The former changes the amount of mixing amongst the Born-Oppenheimer states. The latter, on the other hand, swings the molecule from being “small” (i.e., sparse vibronic structure with long lifetimes) to being “large” (i.e., dense statistical distribution of levels) since the relaxation between levels is very effective at high temperatures. Finally, the results of this work show that the words fluorescence and phosphorescence in their strict meaning are misleading if the true eigenstates, which may contain both singlet and triplet character, are prepared

Topics: Physical Sciences: Chemistry
Year: 1977
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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