Journal article

Quantum state specific reactant preparation in a molecular beam by rapid adiabatic passage

Highly efficient preparation of molecules in a specific rovibrationally excited state for gas/surface reactivity measurements is achieved in a molecular beam using tunable infrared (IR) radiation from a single mode continuous wave optical parametric oscillator (cw-OPO). We demonstrate that with appropriate focusing of the IR radiation, molecules in the molecular beam crossing the fixed frequency IR field experience a Doppler tuning that can be adjusted to achieve complete population inversion of a two-level system by rapid adiabatic passage (RAP). A room temperature pyroelectric detector is used to monitor the excited fraction in the molecular beam and the population inversion is detected and quantified using IR bleaching by a second IR-OPO. The second OPO is also used for complete population transfer to an overtone or combination vibration via double resonance excitation using two spatially separated RAP processes.

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