Charge asymmetric breakup of diatomic molecular ions in an intense ultrashort laser field

B. Gaire, J. McKenna, A.M. Sayler, Nora G. Johnson, E. Parke, K.D. Carnes, B.D. Esry, I. Ben-Itzhak
James R. Macdonald Laboratory, Department of Physics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

Charge asymmetric dissociation of small molecules such as N22+ -- N2+ + N is a topic of considerable interest. There has been some debate on the mechanisms responsible for the sharing of charge in an intense laser field [1]. We present here a study of the ionization of N2+ and CO+ molecular ion beams using ultrashort (10-45 fs) 790 nm laser pulses with intensities up to 5 x 1015 W/cm2. Employing a coincidence 3D momentum imaging method, we isolate the asymmetric breakup channels (e.g. N2+ + N) from charge symmetric (e.g. N+ + N+) channels through detection of neutral fragments in coincidence with the ion fragments. Analysis of the kinetic energy release and angular distributions reveal detailed information on the breakup mechanisms.

[1] C. Guo, M. Li, and G.N. Gibson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 2492, (1999).

This work was supported by the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, and by the National Science Foundation.

Presented at DAMOP, May 2008, in State College, PA.


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