Chemical Bond Activation Observed with an X-ray Laser

Martin Beye, Henrik Öberg, Hongliang Xin, Georgi L. Dakovski, Martina Dell'Angela, Alexander Föhlisch, Jörgen Gladh, Markus Hantschmann, Florian Hieke, Sarp Kaya, Danilo Kühn, Jerry LaRue, Giuseppe Mercurio, Michael P. Minitti, Ankush Mitra, Stefan P. Möller, May Ling Ng, Anders Nilsson, Dennis Nordlund, Jens K. Nørskov, Henrik Öström, Hirohito Ogasawara, Mats Persson, William F. Schlotter, Jonas A. Sellberg, Martin Wolf, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Lars G. M. Pettersson, Wilfried Wurth
Year of publication: 
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

The concept of bonding and antibonding orbitals is fundamental in chemistry. The population of those orbitals and the energetic difference between the two reflect the strength of the bonding interaction. Weakening the bond is expected to reduce this energetic splitting, but the transient character of bond-activation has so far prohibited direct experimental access. Here we apply time-resolved soft X-ray spectroscopy at a free-electron laser to directly observe the decreased bonding-antibonding splitting following bond-activation using an ultrashort optical laser pulse.

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