Accurate measurements of product state-resolved angular distributions are central to fundamental studies of chemical reaction dynamics. Yet, fine quantum-mechanical structures in product angular distributions of a reactive scattering process, such as the fast oscillations in the forward-scattering direction, have never been observed experimentally and the nature of these oscillations has not been fully explored. Here we report the crossed-molecular-beam experimental observation of these fast forward-scattering oscillations in the product angular distribution of the benchmark chemical reaction, H + HD → H2 + D. Clear oscillatory structures are observed for the H2(v′ = 0, j′ = 1, 3) product states at a collision energy of 1.35 eV, in excellent agreement with the quantum-mechanical dynamics calculations. Our analysis reveals that the oscillatory forward-scattering components are mainly contributed by the total angular momentum J around 28. The partial waves and impact parameters responsible for the forward scatterings are also determined from these observed oscillations, providing crucial dynamics information on the transient reaction process.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Center for Chemical Dynamics), the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB17000000) and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The authors also thank Ting Xie, Siwen Wang, Yuxin Tan and Qiming Qiu for their help with the experiment.

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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Daofu Yuan, Shengrui Yu.


  1. Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, Department of Chemical Physics, iChEM (Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials), University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China

    • Daofu Yuan
    • , Wentao Chen
    • , Jiwei Sang
    • , Chang Luo
    • , Tao Wang
    • , Xingan Wang
    •  & Xueming Yang
  2. Hangzhou Institute of Advanced Studies, Zhejiang Normal University, Hangzhou, China

    • Shengrui Yu
  3. State Key Laboratory of Molecular Reaction Dynamics, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, China

    • Tao Wang
    • , Xin Xu
    • , Zhigang Sun
    • , Dong H. Zhang
    •  & Xueming Yang
  4. Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy

    • Piergiorgio Casavecchia
  5. Department of Chemistry, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China

    • Xueming Yang


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X.Y., D.H.Z., Z.S. and X.W. conceived and supervised the research. The experiments were carried out by D.Y., S.Y., W.C., J.S., C.L., P.C. and X.W. Data analysis and interpretation were performed by D.Y., S.Y., W.C., T. W.,P.C., X.W. and X.Y. Theoretical calculations were performed by X.X., Z.S. and D.H.Z. The manuscript was written by X.Y., D.H.Z., Z.S. and X.W., with contributions from all authors. All authors contributed to discussions about the content of the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Xingan Wang or Zhigang Sun or Dong H. Zhang or Xueming Yang.

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  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Methods, Results, Fig. 1–9 and Table 1

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