Stereodynamics in NO(X) plus Ar inelastic collisions
The effect of orientation of the NO(X) bond axis prior to rotationally inelastic collisions with Ar has been investigated experimentally and theoretically. A modification to conventional velocity-map imaging ion optics is described, which allows the orientation of hexapole state-selected NO(X) using a static electric field, followed by velocity map imaging of the resonantly ionized scattered products. Bond orientation resolved differential cross sections are measured experimentally for a series of spin-orbit conserving transitions and compared with quantum mechanical calculations. The agreement between experimental results and those from quantum mechanical calculations is generally good. Parity pairs, which have previously been observed in collisions of unpolarized NO with various rare gases, are not observed due to the coherent superposition of the two j = 1/2, Omega = 1/2 Lambda-doublet levels in the orienting field. The normalized difference differential cross sections are found to depend predominantly on the final rotational state, and are not very sensitive to the final.-doublet level. The differential steric effect has also been investigated theoretically, by means of quantum mechanical and classical calculations. Classically, the differential steric effect can be understood by considering the steric requirement for different types of trajectories that contribute to different regions of the differential cross section. However, classical effects cannot account quantitatively for the differential steric asymmetry observed in NO(X) + Ar collisions, which reflects quantum interference from scattering at either end of the molecule. This quantum interference effect is dominated by the repulsive region of the potential. Published by AIP Publishing.