Abstract

Photodissociation of diatomic molecules by linearly polarized radiation in general produces an anisotropic distribution of recoiling atomic fragments. When a short burst of radiation dissociates a gas at low pressure, the collective linear momenta of the individual recoiling photofragments add at any point in space to act as a macroscopic pressure wave, the impulse corresponding to which can be detected by a sensitive microphone. We report here detection of anisotropic pressure waves from photodissociation of Cl2 with 355-nm radiation. The experimental data show the pressure wave to be peaked in a direction perpendicular to the polarization direction of the incident radiation, indicating a predominantly perpendicular transition moment in Cl2 at this wavelength.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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