The diatomic collisional intermediate responsible for the formation of an electronically excited molecule by teratomic recombination has been observed in both the spectral and temporal domains by laser spectroscopy. We report experiments demonstrating thermal Xe(6s[3/2]2)-Xe(5p6 1S0) atomic collision pairs to be the immediate precursor to the formation of Xe2∗ (a3 Σu+, A1Σu+) by the three body process: Xe∗(6s) + 2Xe → Xe2 ∗ + Xe, where the asterisk denotes an excited electronic state. Photoassociating Xe(6s)-Xe atomic pairs by free ← free transitions of the collision complex interrupts the production of the electronically excited Xe dimer, thereby suppressing Xe2 spontaneous emission in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV, λ ∼ 172 nm, A 1 Σ u + → X 1 Σ g +). Intercepting Xe(6s)-Xe pairs before the complex is stabilized by the arrival of the third atom in the teratomic collision process selectively depletes the pair population in a specific Franck-Condon region determined by the probe laser wavelength (λ). Measurements of the variation of VUV emission suppression with λ provide a spectral signature of the [Xe(6s[3/2]2) - Xe(1S0)]∗ complex and map the probe laser wavelength onto the thermal energy (ϵ″) of the incoming collision pairs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry