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Chlorine nitrate photolysis at 308 nm has been investigated with a molecular beam technique. Two primary decomposition pathways, leading to Cl + NO3 and ClO + NO2, were observed. The branching ratio between these two respective channels was determined to be 0.67 ± 0.06 : 0.33 ± 0.06. This ratio is an upper limit because some of the ClO photoproducts may have undergone secondary photodissociation. The angular distributions of the photoproducts with respect to the direction of polarization of the exciting light were anisotropic. The anisotropy parameters were β= 0.5 ± 0.2 for the Cl + NO3 channel and β= 1.1 ± 0.2 for the ClO + NO2 channel, indicating that dissociation of ClONO2 by either pathway occurs within a rotational period. Weak signal at mass-to-charge ratios of 35 and 51, arising from products with laboratory velocities close to the beam velocity, was observed. While this signal could result from statistical dissociation channels with a total relative yield of 0.07 or less, it is more likely attributable to products from ClO secondary photodissociation or from dissociation of clusters.
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