Control of Photoassociation Yield: A Quantum Dynamical Study of the Mercury System to Explore the Role of Pulse Duration from Nanoseconds to Femtoseconds

Potential energy curves for mercury photoassociation by means of exciplex formation

Peter Backhaus, Burkhard Schmidt, and Marcos Dantus

The photoassociation process shows strong dependence on the temporal duration of the electromagnetic field pulses and their frequencies. This dependence is investigated using quantum mechanical simulations that include all ranges of impact parameters and also contributions from bound-to-bound transitions. The photoassociation yield of mercury atoms to produce excimer dimers is enhanced for short (ps) and for ultrashort (fs) pulse durations. Ultrashort laser pulses effectively overlap the entire range of free-to-bound transition, therefore achieving a maximum probability. Short pulses show a maximum in the photoassociation yield when their carrier frequency overlaps a particular free-to-bound spectroscopic resonance. Implications of these calculations on efforts to control bimolecular reactions using photoassociation are discussed.

Chem. Phys. Lett. 306 (1-2), 18-24 (1999)