Detection of the O2 A′3ΔU Herzberg III state by photofragment imaging
Photofragment imaging is shown to provide a sensitive method for detection of the O2 A′3Δu Herzberg III state using a one-laser dissociation/O(1D) resonance enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) scheme with a focused nanosecond dye laser beam tuned to 203.8 or 205.2 nm, combined with velocity map imaging of the atomic oxygen photofragment. O2 populated in the Herzberg states is generated by photodesorption at 250 nm of solid O2 ice held at 15 K and by an electric discharge in a pulsed molecular beam of pure O2. Ice photo-desorption results in Herzberg state products with higher translational, vibrational and rotational energy spreads, yielding the same signal as the discharge source but with lower velocity resolution. A clear signal with parallel character (β ∼ 0.9) assigned to dissociation of O2 A′3Δu(v = 0, 1 Ω = 1) was observed when using a pulsed electric discharge source under specific ‘cold’ conditions with O(1D) detection, driving one-photon dissociation around 205 nm. No products corresponding to O2 A′3Δu state dissociation were observed for 225.625 or 200.32 nm dissociation with O(3P2) detection, which implies that the O2 A′3Δu state dissociates exclusively to the third (O1D + O1D) dissociation limit. Dissociation is suggested to take place through the 21Πg upper state to the O1D + O1D limit where spin–orbit coupling of the A′3Δu state with the 11Πu state accesses the allowed parallel 1Πu → 1Πg transition. While the absence of a parallel-type photodissociation signal from the c1Σ−u state may be expected, the A3Σ+u should spin–orbit couple through the same pathway as the A′3Δu state. The fact that no clear A3Σ+u signal is observed suggests a faster deactivation process compared to the A′3Δu state in the discharge and ice desorption process.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Photodissociation and reaction dynamics