New insights into the photodissociation of triatomic molecules

Photodissociation studies of specific triatomic molecules (H2O, H2S, CO2, OCS, and CS2) have shed light on the underlying mechanisms and reasons behind chemical reactions. These investigations have been made possible by utilizing the vacuum ultraviolet free electron laser (VUV-FEL) at the Dalian coherent light source (DCLS). Prof. Xueming Yang, along with Kaijun Yuan and Michael N. R. Ashfold, highlights the significance of these studies and their implications for planetary atmospheres, interstellar and circumstellar environments.

The selected molecules, their photofragments, and the ensuing chemical reaction networks they contribute to are crucial in understanding various atmospheric and astronomical processes. By employing the VUV-FEL light source, researchers have been able to delve into the photodissociation dynamics of these molecules in detail. The authors emphasize the discovery of a central atom elimination process present in all triatomic molecules studied. This finding underscores the importance of this photochemistry in unraveling interstellar chemistry and the evolution of molecules throughout the universe.

The review provides a glimpse into the multitude of molecules that have been investigated using the VUV-FEL light source, with a specific focus on triatomic systems pertinent to planetary atmospheres and interstellar environments. The examples presented demonstrate the advancements made in molecular photochemistry through the utilization of an FEL source. The availability of short photolysis wavelengths offered by VUV-FEL simplifies the study of diverse target molecules across a wide range of wavelengths, enabling the identification of previously unknown fragmentation pathways.

By expanding access to VUV-FEL sources, this review aims to inspire future research endeavors in chemical reaction dynamics and astrochemistry. The profound insights gained from molecular photochemistry studies have the potential to shape the course of scientific exploration in these fields. The comprehensive review paper authored by Prof. Kaijun Yuan and Prof. Michael N. R. Ashfold can be found in the esteemed journal National Science Review.

Source: Science China Press

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