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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics


The ion-pair states of molecular iodine provide a unique system for studying the efficiency, selectivity, and mechanisms of collision-induced non-adiabatic transitions. Non-adiabatic transitions between the first-tier ion-pair states in collisions with molecular partners and rare gases are analyzed and discussed. The qualitative features of the rate constants and product state distributions under single collision conditions are summarized and interpreted in terms of appropriate theoretical approaches. Two mechanisms for the non-adiabatic transitions are clearly identified. The first, operative for collisions involving molecular partners possessing permanent or transition electrostatic moments, is highly selective. It connects the initially prepared level in the E 0(g)(+) electronic state with the near-resonant vibronic level of the D 0(u)(+) state with a minimum change of the total angular momentum. In an extreme quasi-resonant case when the gap between initial and final rovibronic level is less than 1 cm(-1), this mechanism has a giant cross section, 40 times that of a gas kinetic collision. An electrostatic model, which includes the coupling of the giant E-D transition dipole moment with a moment of the colliding partner and the semiclassical Born approximation, provides a plausible interpretation of this mechanism. A second mechanism is shown to govern collisions with rare gas atoms. It results in population of several ion-pair states and broad distributions over rovibronic levels. This mechanism is successfully interpreted by quantum scattering calculations based on the diatomics-in-molecule diabatic potential energy surfaces and coupling matrix elements. The calculations provide good agreement with experimental measurements and reveal different mechanisms for the population of different electronic states. Unexplained features of the non-adiabatic dynamics and directions of future work are outlined.


This work is freely available courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry.