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Title: Rotational polarisation effects in the inelastic collisions of NO(X) and Ar
Author: Hornung, Balázs
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Rotational polarisation effects have been investigated in the rotationally inelastic collisions of NO(X) and Ar by means of theoretical and experimental methods. Rotational polarisation describes the correlation between the kk'j' vectors, that is the initial and final relative velocities of the colliding partners and the final rotational angular momentum of the diatom, respectively. The simplest types of polarisation are the rotational orientation, or preferred sense of rotation, and the rotational alignment, or preferred plane of rotation. They are quantised by the renormalised polarisation dependent differential cross sections (PDDCSs) In this thesis the theoretical methods included exact quantum mechanical, quasi- classical trajectory and Monte Carlo classical hard shell calculations. Various features of the interaction potential influence differently the polarisation dynamics. The effects of attraction and soft repulsion were elucidated employing a number of differently modified potentials. The rotational alignment is primarily determined by a classical impulsive, or hard shell mechanism at a collision energy of 66 meV. The attractive and soft repulsive forces only perturb this underlying mechanism. On the other hand, the parity dependent oscillations of the open shell alignment moments are due to differences between the quantum mechanical differential cross sections. It has been shown the bigger the well depth compared to the collision energy, the less applicable becomes the classical hard shell model to describe rotational alignment. The quantum mechanical rotational alignment in the collisions of hard shells was also calculated. The classical and quantum mechanical hard shell models predict different rotational alignment. Nevertheless, the classical alignment is a good approximation to the exact quantum mechanical results. The rotational orientation is much more sensitive to the details of the interaction potential. It does not exist in the classical description of hard shell collisions, if the system exhibits certain symmetry properties. The attraction and finite range repulsion break this symmetry and leads to the molecule having a preferred sense of rotation. In general there is non-vanishing rotational orientation in the collisions of a hard shell in the framework of quantum mechanics. This is due to the finite spatial and temporal interaction of the colliding partners. Quantum mechanical interference effects also play an important role in this phenomenon. The rotational alignment was experimentally determined in the collisions of NO(X) and Ar at collision energy of 66meV with a hexapole state selective ion-imaging apparatus. An algorithm was developed based on the Fourier moment analysis to extract rotational polarisation information from the experimental ion images. It is fast and robust and can also be of used to simulate experimental images. This algorithm was used to retrieve the experimental renormalised PDDCSs ion images. The measurements confirmed that a classical, impulsive dynamics is mainly responsible for the rotational alignment in these collisions.
Supervisor: Brouard, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical & theoretical chemistry ; polarisation ; molecular collisions ; scattering theory ; ion imaging