Experimental testing of ab initio potential energy surfaces: Stereodynamics of NO(A2Σ+) + Ne inelastic scattering at multiple collision energies

Thomas Frederick Murray Luxford, Thomas R Sharples, Kenneth George McKendrick, Matthew Lawrence Costen

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We present a crossed molecular beam velocity-map ion imaging study of state-to-state rotational energy transfer of NO(A2Σ+, v = 0, N = 0, j = 0.5) in collisions with Ne atoms. From these measurements, we report differential cross sections and angle-resolved rotational angular momentum alignment moments for product states N′ = 3, 5-10 for collisions at an average energy of 523 cm-1, and N′ = 3, 5-14 for collisions at an average energy of 1309 cm-1, respectively. The experimental results are compared to the results of close-coupled quantum scattering calculations on two literature ab initio potential energy surfaces (PESs) (Pajón-Suárez et al., Chem. Phys. Lett. 429, 389 (2006), and Cybulski and Fernández, J. Phys. Chem. A. 116, 7319 (2012)). The differential cross sections from both experiment and theory show clear rotational rainbow structures at both collision energies, and comparison of the angles observed for the rainbow peaks leads to the conclusion that Cybulski and Fernández PES better represents the NO(A2Σ+)-Ne interaction at the collision energies used here. Sharp, forward scattered (< 10°), peaks are observed in the experimental differential cross sections for a wide range of N′ at both collision energies, which are not reproduced by theory on either PES. We identify these as L-type rainbows, characteristic of attractive interactions, and consistent with a shallow well in the collinear Ne-N-O geometry, similar to that calculated for the NO(A2Σ+)-Ar surface (Kłos et al., J. Chem. Phys. 129, 244303 (2008)), but absent from both of the NO(A2Σ+)-Ne surfaces tested here. The angle-resolved alignment moments calculated by quantum scattering theory are generally in good agreement with the experimental results, but both experiment and quantum scattering theory are dramatically different to the predictions of a classical rigid-shell, kinematic-apse conservation, model. Strong oscillations are resolved in the experimental alignment moments as a function of scattering angle, confirming and extending the preliminary report of this behavior (Steill et al., J Phys Chem A. 117, 8163 (2013)). These oscillations are correlated with structure in the differential cross section, suggesting an interference effect is responsible for their appearance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number174304
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2016


  • crossed molecular beams
  • Rotational energy transfer
  • Potential Energy Surface
  • scattering dynamics
  • Nitric oxide
  • rotational alignment


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