Laser-induced Coulomb explosion of heteronuclear alkali-metal dimers on helium nanodroplets

Simon H. Albrechtsen, Jeppe K. Christensen, Rico Mayro P. Tanyag, Henrik H. Kristensen, Henrik Stapelfeldt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A sample mixture of alkali-metal homonuclear dimers, Ak2 and Ak2′, and heteronuclear dimers, AkAk′, residing on the surface of helium nanodroplets are Coulomb exploded into pairs of atomic alkali-metal cations, (Ak+,Ak+), (Ak′+,Ak′+), and (Ak+,Ak′+), following double ionization induced by an intense 50-fs laser pulse. The measured kinetic-energy distribution P(Ekin) of both the Ak+ and Ak′+ fragment ions contains overlapping peaks due to contributions from Coulomb explosion of the homonuclear and heteronuclear dimers. From P(Ekin), we determine the distribution of internuclear distances P(R) via the Coulomb-explosion imaging principle. Using coincident filtering based on momentum division between the two fragment ions, we demonstrate that the individual P(Ekin) distributions pertaining to ions from either hetero-or homonuclear dimers can be retrieved. This filtering method works through the concurrent detection of two-dimensional velocity images of the Ak+ and the Ak′+ ions implemented through the combination of a velocity-map-imaging spectrometer and a TPX3CAM detector. The key finding is that P(R) can be measured for any specific dimer in the unavoidably mixed sample of hetero-and homonuclear alkali-metal dimers. We report results for LiK and NaK, which were previously unmeasurable by the Coulomb-explosion technique. Our method should also work for other heteronuclear dimers and for differentiating between different isotopologues of any of the dimers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043112
JournalPhysical Review A
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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