ULTRAFAST DYNAMICS: Imaging charge transfer in iodomethane upon x-ray photoabsorption

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Abstract

Studies of charge transfer are often hampered by difficulties in determining the charge localization at a given time. Here, we used ultrashort x-ray free-electron laser pulses to image charge rearrangement dynamics within gas-phase iodomethane molecules during dissociation induced by a synchronized near-infrared (NIR) laser pulse. Inner-shell photoionization creates positive charge, which is initially localized on the iodine atom. We map the electron transfer between the methyl and iodine fragments as a function of their interatomic separation set by the NIR-x-ray delay. We observe signatures of electron transfer for distances up to 20 angstroms and show that a realistic estimate of its effective spatial range can be obtained from a classical over-the-barrier model. The presented technique is applicable for spatiotemporal imaging of charge transfer dynamics in a wide range of molecular systems.

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