The angular anisotropy of fragments created in the dissociation of core-electron excited water molecules is studied to probe the correlation between fragmentation channels, kinematics and molecular geometry. We present fragment kinetic measurements for water molecules where the inner-shell oxygen electron is excited to the unoccupied 4a1 and 2b2 valence molecular orbitals. The kinematics of individual fragmentation channels are measured using fully three-dimensional momentum imaging of fragments. The results show that the geometry of the molecule and the kinetic energy of fragments are strongly coupled in the atomisation process. In addition we identify a fragmentation process arising from bond rearrangement evidenced by the H2(+)-O(+) ion pair which is accessible for resonant excitation of the 1s electron. In all of the two-body fragmentation processes the dissociation takes place along the potential-energy surface, while atomisation reveals both dissociation along the potential surface and Coulomb explosion. The angular distribution of fragments suggests that the bond rearrangement is very rapid; likely on a sub 10 fs time scale.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics