Gaining Mechanistic Insight with Control Pulse Slicing: Application to the Dissociative Ionization of CH2BrI

Xi Xing, Roberto Rey-De-Castro, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In quantum control experiments with shaped femtosecond laser pulses, adaptive feedback control is often used to identify pulse shapes that can optimally steer the quantum system toward the desired outcome. However, gaining mechanistic information can pose a challenge due to the varied structural features of the control pulses and/or the often complex nature of the associated simulations of the experiments. In this article, we introduce control pulse slicing (CPS) as an easy-to-implement experimental analysis tool that can be employed directly in the laboratory without the need for modeling, to gain mechanistic insights about control experiments, regardless of whether the pulse is optimal or chosen by other means. As an illustration, we apply CPS to dissociative ionization of CH2BrI with mass spectral detection, where two pulses with similar intensities are investigated, with each capable of distinctively controlling the ratio of Br+/CH2Br+. These two control pulses were, respectively, first identified with closed loop and open loop procedures, and then the multispecies experimental data was analyzed with CPS. By comparing the dynamical evolution of the observed multiple fragment ion yields upon slicing scans of the two distinct pulses, we were able to reveal insights about the control mechanism for manipulating the objective ratio. In addition, we also identified the relationship between the temporal structures of the control pulses and the associated key reaction pathways involved in ionic as well as neutral electronic states, in spite of the signals only directly being from the ionic species. The CPS technique is not limited to controlled fragmentation mass spectrometry, and it may be applied to gain mechanistic insights in any control experiment, reflected in the nature of the recorded signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8632-8641
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 16 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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