Molecular selfie reveals how a chemical bond breaks: Proton is seen escaping the molecule
by Jens Biegert
Can molecules take pictures of themselves? That is more or less the principle underlying laser-induced electron diffraction (LIED): A laser field strips an electron from a molecule and then sends it back to report on the structure of the remaining ion. Wolter et al. applied this technique to acetylene to track the cleavage of its C–H bond after double ionization. They imaged the full structure of the molecule and also distinguished more rapid dissociative dynamics when it was oriented parallel rather than perpendicular to the LIED field.
Read the article in Science, 354, 308 (2016).