Time-resolved studies of molecular dynamics using nano- and femtosecond laser pulses


This thesis presents the results of two experiments that measure the evolution of laser excited molecules. The experiment performed with 0.1-ps laser pulses elucidates the dynamics of desorption of O2 and formation of CO2 on a platinum surface. The experiment performed with nanosecond time resolution reveals the inter- and intra- molecular vibrational dynamics of infrared laser pumped molecules. Desorption of O2 and formation of CO2 were induced with subpicosecond laser pulses on a Pt(111) surface dosed with coadsorbed O2 and CO. Fluence dependent yields obtained over a range of laser wavelengths from 267 to 800 nm, and pulse durations from 80 fs to 3.6 ps are presented. We observe a dependence of the nonlinear desorption yield on wavelength. Two-pulse correlation measurements show two different time- scales relevant to the desorption. The results show that nonthermal electrons play a role in the surface chemistry, and that an equilibrated pre-heating of the surface modes leads to enhanced desorption. In the second set of experiments reported in this thesis, time- resolved coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy was used to obtain the rovibrational energy distributions in polyatomic molecules following infrared multiphoton excitation. In addition to presenting new results on SF6, we review previously obtained data on SO2 and OCS. The data yield new details about infrared multiphoton excitation and intramolecular vibrational energy relaxation. In particular they show the significance of collisions in redistributing vibrational energy following excitation. The results also clearly show stronger inter-mode coupling and higher excitation in systems with increasing numbers of atoms per molecule. In addition, a detailed description is provided of the Ti:Sapphire based ultrashort pulsed amplified laser system. Both, the principles and the design of the laser system are discussed to serve as a manual for the femtosecond laser system constructed for the study of molecules adsorbed on a metal surface.
Last updated on 07/24/2019