Deconstructing field-induced ketene isomerization through Lagrangian descriptors
The time-dependent geometrical separatrices governing state transitions in field-induced ketene isomerization are constructed using the method of Lagrangian descriptors. We obtain the stable and unstable manifolds of time-varying transition states as dynamic phase space objects governing configurational changes when the ketene molecule is subjected to an oscillating electric field. The dynamics of the isomerization reaction are modeled through classical trajectory studies on the Gezelter–Miller potential energy surface and an approximate dipole moment model which is coupled to a time-dependent electric field. We obtain a representation of the reaction geometry, over varying field strengths and oscillation frequencies, by partitioning an initial phase space into basins labeled according to which product state is reached at a given time. The borders between these basins are in agreement with those obtained using Lagrangian descriptors, even in regimes exhibiting chaotic dynamics. Major outcomes of this work are: validation and extension of a transition state theory framework built from Lagrangian descriptors, elaboration of the applicability for this theory to periodically- and aperiodically-driven molecular systems, and prediction of regimes in which isomerization of ketene and its derivatives may be controlled using an external field.