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Molecular physics

Breaking up is hard to do

Dissociating hydrogen gas seems like it should be as easy as pulling apart two identical atoms. But resonant electron-impact experiments reveal that quantum interference induces a fundamental asymmetry in the process.

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Figure 1: Schematic representation of resonant electron attachment (green vertical arrow) producing coherent dissociating wavepackets on two electronic states (red and blue curves), with opposite parity, of the transient anion H2.


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Correspondence to Daniel S. Slaughter.

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Slaughter, D., Rescigno, T. Breaking up is hard to do. Nat. Phys. 14, 109–110 (2018).

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