Vibrational Energy Redistribution in a Gas-Surface Encounter: State-to-State Scattering of CH4 from Ni(111)

The fate of vibrational energy in the collision of methane (CH4) in its antisymmetric C-H stretch vibration (ν3) with a Ni(111) surface has been studied in a state-to-state scattering experiment. Laser excitation in the incident molecular beam prepared the J 1⁄4 1 rotational state of ν3, and a bolometer in combination with selective laser excitation detected the scattered methane. The rovibrationally resolved scattering distributions reveal very efficient vibrational energy redistribution from ν3 to the symmetric C-H stretch vibration (ν1). The branching ratio ν1=ν3 is near 0.4 and insensitive to changes in incident kinetic energy in the range from 100 to 370 meV. State-resolved angular distributions and measurements of the residual Doppler linewidths prove that the scattering is direct. The observed vibrationally inelastic scattering provides direct experimental evidence for surface-induced vibrational energy redistribution.

Published in:
Physical Review Letters, 120, 5, 053402
Jan 31 2018

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 Record created 2018-01-31, last modified 2019-12-05

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