Rotationally inelastic collisions of excited NaK and NaCs molecules with noble gas and alkali atom perturbers

J. Jones, K. Richter, T. J. Price, A. J. Ross, P. Crozet, C. Faust, R. F. Malenda, S. Carlus, A. P. Hickman, J. Huennekens

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2 Scopus citations


We report measurements of rate coefficients at T ≈ 600 K for rotationally inelastic collisions of NaK molecules in the 2(A)1Σ+ electronic state with helium, argon, and potassium atom perturbers. Several initial rotational levels J between 14 and 44 were investigated. Collisions involving molecules in low-lying vibrational levels (v = 0, 1, and 2) of the 2(A)1Σ+ state were studied using Fourier-transform spectroscopy. Collisions involving molecules in a higher vibrational level, v = 16, were studied using pump/probe, optical-optical double resonance spectroscopy. In addition, polarization spectroscopy measurements were carried out to study the transfer of orientation in these collisions. Many, but not all, of the measurements were carried out in the "single-collision regime" where more than one collision is unlikely to occur within the lifetime of the excited molecule. The analysis of the experimental data, which is described in detail, includes an estimate of effects of multiple collisions on the reported rate coefficients. The most significant result of these experiments is the observation of a strong propensity for ΔJ = even transitions in collisions involving either helium or argon atoms; the propensity is much stronger for helium than for argon. For the initial rotational levels studied experimentally, almost all initial orientation is preserved in collisions of NaK 2(A)1Σ+ molecules with helium. Roughly between 1/3 and 2/3 of the orientation is preserved in collisions with argon, and almost all orientation is destroyed in collisions with potassium atoms. Complementary measurements on rotationally inelastic collisions of NaCs 2(A)1Σ+ with argon do not show a ΔJ = even propensity. The experimental results are compared with new theoretical calculations of collisions of NaK 2(A)1Σ+ with helium and argon. The calculations are in good agreement with the absolute magnitudes of the experimentally determined rate coefficients and accurately reproduce the very strong propensity for ΔJ = even transitions in helium collisions and the less strong propensity for ΔJ = even transitions in argon collisions. The calculations also show that collisions with helium are less likely to destroy orientation than collisions with argon, in agreement with the experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144303
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 14 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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