We review the photodissociation dynamics of formaldehyde with an emphasis on recent calculations that make use of a global ab initio-based potential energy surface for the S0 state. These calculations together with recent experiments reveal striking departures from conventional transition state theory for the formation of the molecular products H2
+ CO. The evidence for this departure is reviewed in detail by examining properties of the new potential surface and results of quasiclassical trajectory dynamics calculations using this surface. We also review very recent work on the dynamics governing the formation of radical products, H + HCO. These products can be formed on the T1 surface as well as the S0 one, and we present some results contrasting the dynamics on these two surfaces. This work makes use of a new semi-global ab initio-based T1 potential energy surface.
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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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