Imaging nucleophilic substitution dynamics

J. Mikosch, S. Trippel, C. Eichhorn, R. Otto, U. Lourderaj, J. X. Zhang, W. L. Hase, M. Weidemüller, R. Wester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations


Anion-molecule nucleophilic substitution (SN2) reactions are known for their rich reaction dynamics, caused by a complex potential energy surface with a submerged barrier and by weak coupling of the relevant rotational-vibrational quantum states. The dynamics of the SN2 reaction of Cl-+ CH3I were uncovered in detail by using crossed molecular beam imaging. As a function of the collision energy, the transition from a complex-mediated reaction mechanism to direct backward scattering of the I- product was observed experimentally. Chemical dynamics calculations were performed that explain the observed energy transfer and reveal an indirect roundabout reaction mechanism involving CH3 rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-186
Number of pages4
Issue number5860
StatePublished - Jan 11 2008


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