Coupling of Bound States to Continuum States in Neutral Triatomic Hydrogen
Rydberg states of the neutral triatomic hydrogen molecule can be viewed as an electron attached to a tightly bound H 3 + core.1–4 These states are embedded in the dissociation continuum of the repulsive electronic ground state surface as seen from Fig. 1. As a consequence, all excited bound states of H3 are subject to predissociation. The metastable 2pA2″(N=K=0) state is a notable exception. Here N refers to the total angular momentum apart from spin and K to the projection of N on the molecular top axis. This lowest rotational level is long-lived (700 ns)5 owing to symmetry forbidden coupling with the electronic ground state by either radiation or predissociation. Neutral H3 in this rotational level can be selectively prepared in a fast beam by charge exchange techniques. This state has been used as a platform for laser-excitation experiments3–14 to explore the structure and dynamics of highly excited states of H3.
KeywordsPotential Energy Surface Rydberg State Dalitz Plot Dissociative Recombination Rydberg Electron
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