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Phys Rev Lett ; 123(12): 123201, 2019 Sep 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31633947


Femtosecond laser pulses have opened new frontiers for the study of ultrafast phase transitions and nonequilibrium states of matter. In this Letter, we report on structural dynamics in atomic clusters pumped with intense near-infrared (NIR) pulses into a nanoplasma state. Employing wide-angle scattering with intense femtosecond x-ray pulses from a free-electron laser source, we find that highly excited xenon nanoparticles retain their crystalline bulk structure and density in the inner core long after the driving NIR pulse. The observed emergence of structural disorder in the nanoplasma is consistent with a propagation from the surface to the inner core of the clusters.

Nat Commun ; 10(1): 2186, 2019 05 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31097703


The increasing availability of X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) has catalyzed the development of single-object structural determination and of structural dynamics tracking in real-time. Disentangling the molecular-level reactions triggered by the interaction with an XFEL pulse is a fundamental step towards developing such applications. Here we report real-time observations of XFEL-induced electronic decay via short-lived transient electronic states in the diiodomethane molecule, using a femtosecond near-infrared probe laser. We determine the lifetimes of the transient states populated during the XFEL-induced Auger cascades and find that multiply charged iodine ions are issued from short-lived (∼20 fs) transient states, whereas the singly charged ones originate from significantly longer-lived states (∼100 fs). We identify the mechanisms behind these different time scales: contrary to the short-lived transient states which relax by molecular Auger decay, the long-lived ones decay by an interatomic Coulombic decay between two iodine atoms, during the molecular fragmentation.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 19(30): 19707-19721, 2017 Aug 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28530728


Coulomb explosion of diiodomethane CH2I2 molecules irradiated by ultrashort and intense X-ray pulses from SACLA, the Japanese X-ray free electron laser facility, was investigated by multi-ion coincidence measurements and self-consistent charge density-functional-based tight-binding (SCC-DFTB) simulations. The diiodomethane molecule, containing two heavy-atom X-ray absorbing sites, exhibits a rather different charge generation and nuclear motion dynamics compared to iodomethane CH3I with only a single heavy atom, as studied earlier. We focus on charge creation and distribution in CH2I2 in comparison to CH3I. The release of kinetic energy into atomic ion fragments is also studied by comparing SCC-DFTB simulations with the experiment. Compared to earlier simulations, several key enhancements are made, such as the introduction of a bond axis recoil model, where vibrational energy generated during charge creation processes induces only bond stretching or shrinking. We also propose an analytical Coulomb energy partition model to extract the essential mechanism of Coulomb explosion of molecules from the computed and the experimentally measured kinetic energies of fragment atomic ions by partitioning each pair Coulomb interaction energy into two ions of the pair under the constraint of momentum conservation. Effective internuclear distances assigned to individual fragment ions at the critical moment of the Coulomb explosion are then estimated from the average kinetic energies of the ions. We demonstrate, with good agreement between the experiment and the SCC-DFTB simulation, how the more heavily charged iodine fragments and their interplay define the characteristic features of the Coulomb explosion of CH2I2. The present study also confirms earlier findings concerning the magnitude of bond elongation in the ultrashort X-ray pulse duration, showing that structural damage to all but C-H bonds does not develop to a noticeable degree in the pulse length of ∼10 fs.