Low-temperature Collisions between Neutral Molecules in Merged Molecular Beams
We have developed an experiment for the investigation of neutral molecular collisions in the gas phase at temperatures as low as 100 mK. These low temperatures are obtained by merging two supersonic expansions, using an electric and a magnetic guide, and by matching the velocities of the beams. Since the energy available for the collisions, or the temperature, is determined only by the relative velocity of the reaction partners this enables the study of chemical processes at very low temperatures without the need to prepare slow molecules in the laboratory frame of reference. This paper describes the method and presents results on the Ne(P-3(2))+NH3 Penning ionization.