Scientific Achievement

Two dynamics are observed at the Carbon K-edge by impulsively ionizing methane molecules:

  1. Geometry distortion occurs within 10 fs.
  2. Loss of vibrational coherence after the distortion.

Significance and Impact

The study shows how molecules react to light, which can ultimately be used to control chemical reactions. The results provide a complete picture of how the energy is redistributed and evolves over time.

Research Details

By using soft X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy and theory calculations, the dynamics described above could be assigned to a specific nuclear coordinate. Both measurements and theory have been reproduced in deuterated methane

Publication Details

Ridente, E., et al. Science 380, 713-717 (2023).
DOI: 10.1126/science.adg4421