Australian Journal of Physics Australian Journal of Physics Society
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Potential Energy Surfaces for Unsaturated Hydrocarbons from Crossed Molecular Beams

K. P. Stevenson, J. D. Close, P. L. Muiño and R. O. Watts

Australian Journal of Physics 50(3) 683 - 695
Published: 1997


The total differential scattering cross sections for several important unsaturated hydrocarbon molecules with common atmospheric gases were measured in a crossed molecular beam apparatus. The experiments show quantum interferences which relate to potential energy surface parameters, such as the well depth and radial minimum. The damping of the quantum features, over contributions from experimental resolutions, provides information on the angular and radial anisotropies present in the potential energy surfaces. We have investigated two areas: (1) the role of the probe partner in determining the interaction strength for a given hydrocarbon target, and (2) the effect of increasing the overall length of the hydrocarbon molecule for a fixed probe. By comparing results for a class of scattering systems, we can identify chemical and physical trends that determine the van der Waals potential energy surfaces of larger molecules. We expect these results to aid in the prediction and interpretation of complementary experimental measurements on the high resolution infrared spectroscopy of weakly bound complexes.

© CSIRO 1997

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