Laser-Induced Chemical Reactions and Energy Transfer
Thomas George Principal Investigator
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Theoretical studies are proposed for laser-induced energy transfer in molecular collision systems and chemical reactions under several different kinds of physical conditions. Calculations involving semiclassical and quantum-mechanical scattering theory will be undertaken on the following projects: (1) Laser-induced gas-phase bimolecular reactions between a rare gas atom and a halogen molecule, in which a non-resonant laser pulse excites the van der Waals complex, leading to the formation of an electronically excited product. (2) Manipulation of ultrashort laser pulses to determine the outcome of a collision event. (3) Photodissociation of a molecule near a grating, including the particular case of predissociation. Effects due to neighboring molecules and possible laser-assisted heterogeneous catalysis are also considered. (4) Laser-induced reactions in a solid-rare gas matrix to determine potential energy surfaces and reactions between halogen and rare-gas atoms. This is a fundamental theoretical study directed towards understanding the details of how a pulse of laser light can cause particular chemical reactions to occur. The possibility of controlling the outcomes of chemical reactions by varying the wavelength of the laser light depends on such an understanding; the present studies are directed to this end.