What can Coulomb Explosions Teach Us about Clusters?
In recent years, there has been a considerable interest in the study of gas-phase atomic clusters. Among the motivations for this work is the fact that such clusters provide a bridge between molecular and condensed matter physics, and thus provide an opportunity to study the structural and electronic rearrangements involved in this transition. Small carbon cluster ions are particularly interesting because of their importance in many chemical processes such as catalysis and combustion and there has been a long history of work with these ions. While there now exists a substantial body of work on the subject1, all of the experimental structural information to date is indirect. Typically, such experiments probe gross features by studying changes in stability with increasing size through measurements of relative abundances, ionization potentials, chemical activity, or fragmentation energies. Recently, more sophisticated spectroscopic techniques have provided some information on electronic states and further offered hopes of probing the nuclear vibra- tional motions within such systems.2 Nevertheless, some of the most important findings (such as shell structure) still remain controversial because of the incomplete nature of the body of data. As has been reported at this workshop, Coulomb explosion experiments have recently provided detailed images of the structures of several small molecules.
KeywordsCoulomb Explosion Spatial Geometry Linear Geometry Relative Velocity Vector Incomplete Nature
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