Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version



Journal of Molecular Structure 978 (2010), pp. 141–146; doi:10.1016/j.molstruc.2010.03.009


Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


In gas electron diffraction an averaging over statistical directions of the molecules takes place. This results in diffraction patterns in the form of isotropic rings which yield information only on the radial distribution function displaying the inter-atomic distances. We demonstrate that by dissociating molecules with linearly polarized light the pattern becomes anisotropic. In the experiments the iodide C2F4I2 is dissociated and molecular difference intensities and difference radial distribution curves are measured for directions parallel and perpendicular to the direction of polarization. With picosecond temporal resolution the curves clearly demonstrate transient anisotropy and its decay by molecular rotation. This experiment is a first step towards the determination of structure and of ultrafast structural changes by electron diffraction from aligned molecules.

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