Photodissociation of ozone following absorption of biologically harmful solar ultraviolet radiation is the key mechanism for the life protecting properties of the atmospheric ozone layer. Even though ozone photolysis is described successfully by post-Hartree-Fock theory, it has evaded direct experimental access so far, due to the unavailability of intense ultrashort deep ultraviolet radiation sources. The rapidity of ozone photolysis with predicted values of a few tens of femtoseconds renders both ultrashort pump and probe pulses indispensable to capture this manifestation of ultrafast chemistry. Here, we present the observation of femtosecond time-scale electronic and nuclear dynamics of ozone triggered by ∼10-fs, ∼2-μJ deep ultraviolet pulses and, in contrast to conventional attochemistry experiments, probed by extreme ultraviolet isolated pulses. An electronic wave packet is first created. We follow the splitting of the excited B-state related nuclear wave packet into a path leading to molecular fragmentation and an oscillating path, revolving around the Franck-Condon point with 22-fs wave-packet revival time. Full quantum-mechanical ab initio multiconfigurational time-dependent Hartree simulations support this interpretation.
Fields of Expertise
- Advanced Materials Science