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J Phys Chem Lett ; 8(13): 2780-2786, 2017 Jul 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28582620


Most large molecules are chiral in their structure: they exist as two enantiomers, which are mirror images of each other. Whereas the rovibronic sublevels of two enantiomers are almost identical (neglecting a minuscular effect of the weak interaction), it turns out that the photoelectric effect is sensitive to the absolute configuration of the ionized enantiomer. Indeed, photoionization of randomly oriented enantiomers by left or right circularly polarized light results in a slightly different electron flux parallel or antiparallel with respect to the photon propagation direction-an effect termed photoelectron circular dichroism (PECD). Our comprehensive study demonstrates that the origin of PECD can be found in the molecular frame electron emission pattern connecting PECD to other fundamental photophysical effects such as the circular dichroism in angular distributions (CDAD). Accordingly, distinct spatial orientations of a chiral molecule enhance the PECD by a factor of about 10.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 113(51): 14651-14655, 2016 12 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27930299


Quantum tunneling is a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature and crucial for many technological applications. It allows quantum particles to reach regions in space which are energetically not accessible according to classical mechanics. In this "tunneling region," the particle density is known to decay exponentially. This behavior is universal across all energy scales from nuclear physics to chemistry and solid state systems. Although typically only a small fraction of a particle wavefunction extends into the tunneling region, we present here an extreme quantum system: a gigantic molecule consisting of two helium atoms, with an 80% probability that its two nuclei will be found in this classical forbidden region. This circumstance allows us to directly image the exponentially decaying density of a tunneling particle, which we achieved for over two orders of magnitude. Imaging a tunneling particle shows one of the few features of our world that is truly universal: the probability to find one of the constituents of bound matter far away is never zero but decreases exponentially. The results were obtained by Coulomb explosion imaging using a free electron laser and furthermore yielded He2's binding energy of [Formula: see text] neV, which is in agreement with most recent calculations.