- Interference in acetylene intersystem crossing acts as the molecular analog of Young's double-slit experiment
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Volume | Issue number
- 106 | 8
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
We report on an experimental approach that reveals crucial details of the composition of singlet-triplet mixed eigenstates in acetylene. Intersystem crossing in this prototypical polyatomic molecule embodies the mixing of the lowest excited singlet state (S1) with 3 triplet states (T1, T2, and T3). Using high-energy (157-nm) photons from an F2 laser to record excited-state photoelectron spectra, we have decomposed the mixed eigenstates into their S1, T3, T2, and T1 constituent parts. One example of the interpretive power that ensues from the selective sensitivity of the experiment to the individual electronic state characters is the discovery and examination of destructive interference between two doorway-mediated intersystem crossing pathways. This observation of an interference effect in nonradiative decay opens up possibilities for rational coherent control over molecular excited state dynamics.
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