The transition state governs how chemical bonds form and cleave during a chemical reaction and its direct characterization is a long-standing challenge in physical chemistry. Transition state spectroscopy experiments based on negative-ion photodetachment provide a direct probe of the vibrational structure and metastable resonances that are characteristic of the reactive surface. Dynamical resonances are extremely sensitive to the topography of the reactive surface and provide an exceptional point of comparison with theory. Here we study the seven-atom F + CH3OH → HF + CH3O reaction using slow photoelectron velocity-map imaging spectroscopy of cryocooled CH3OHF- anions. These measurements reveal spectral features associated with a manifold of vibrational Feshbach resonances and bound states supported by the post-transition state potential well. Quantum dynamical calculations yield excellent agreement with the experimental results, allow the assignment of spectral structure and demonstrate that the key dynamics of complex bimolecular reactions can be captured with a relatively simple theoretical framework.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)