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Methyl iodide and methyl bromide molecules were adsorbed at submonolayer coverages on an ultrathin MgO(100) film on Mo(100) and photoexcited by 266 nm femtosecond-laser irradiation. The subsequent photodissociation and desorption dynamics were probed by time delayed multi photon ionization mass spectrometric detection of the emerging reaction products. The pronounced difference in the appearance times of the methyl radical fragments from methyl iodide and bromide is discussed on the basis of the different molecular adsorption geometries on magnesia. The surface adsorption structure also defines the alignment of the encounter complex for the observed bimolecular formation of the halogen molecules I2 and Br2 within about 1 and 2 ps, respectively. Finally, photoexcitation of co-adsorption layers of CH3I and CH3Br resulted in a heteronuclear bi-molecular reaction yielding IBr molecules.
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