Collisionally assisted, highly selective laser isotope separation of carbon-13
We have further developed our recently reported two-laser technique for highly selective molecular isotope separation of carbon-13 [Boyarkin, Kowalczyk, and Rizzo, J. Chem. Phys. 118, 93 (2003)] with the objective of increasing the yield. An essential feature of this approach in its original conception is the significant increase of isotopic selectivity that occurs through collisions during the time between the overtone preexcitation laser pulse and the multiphoton dissociation pulse. We demonstrate here that under certain conditions, this collisional enhancement of the selectivity works equally well when the two pulses are overlapped in time, allowing the overall isotopic selectivity of the process to remain high while achieving a significant increase in the absolute dissociation yield. We also find that proper shaping of the CO2 laser dissociation pulse makes the fluence required for dissociation sufficiently low to allow irradiation of a large reaction volume by unfocused laser beams. Together, these factors may make this laser isotope separation scheme competitive with existing separation methods. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.