Determining the structure of a molecule with laser-induced electron diffraction
In a study recently published in Nature Communication, ICFO (Barcelona, Spain) researchers around Jens Biegert, in collaboration with researchers from Kansas State University, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (MPIK), Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), and Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, report on an alternative and novel approach that retrieves accurate and precise information about the atomic structure without exact knowledge over the laser field.
They successfully applied the method to imaging gas-phased molecule Carbonyl Sulfide (OCS), in particular on the bond lengths between the constituent atoms, showing a significant bent and asymmetrically stretched configuration of the ionized OCS+ structure.
For this purpose, a reaction microscope was used that was developed and built at the MPIK in the group of Robert Moshammer from the department of Thomas Pfeifer. Here, this type of pulse spectroscopy, which goes back to Joachim Ullrich (formerly MPIK, since 2012 President of the PTB), has been successfully used for years to investigate time-resolved molecular dynamics in strong laser fields.