Imaging an isolated water molecule using a single electron wave packet

Liu X, Amini K, Steinle T, Sanchez A, Shaikh M, Belsa B, Steinmetzer J, Anh-Thu Le , Moshammer R, Pfeifer T, Ullrich J, Moszynski R, Lin CD, Gräfe S, Biegert J (2019)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2019


Book Volume: 151

Article Number: 024306

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1063/1.5100520


Observing changes in molecular structure requires atomic-scale Ångstrom and femtosecond spatio-temporal resolution. We use the Fourier transform (FT) variant of laser-induced electron diffraction (LIED), FT-LIED, to directly retrieve the molecular structure of H2O+ with picometer and femtosecond resolution without a priori knowledge of the molecular structure nor the use of retrieval algorithms or ab initio calculations. We identify a symmetrically stretched H2O+ field-dressed structure that is most likely in the ground electronic state. We subsequently study the nuclear response of an isolated water molecule to an external laser field at four different field strengths. We show that upon increasing the laser field strength from 2.5 to 3.8 V/Å, the O-H bond is further stretched and the molecule slightly bends. The observed ultrafast structural changes lead to an increase in the dipole moment of water and, in turn, a stronger dipole interaction between the nuclear framework of the molecule and the intense laser field. Our results provide important insights into the coupling of the nuclear framework to a laser field as the molecular geometry of H2O+ is altered in the presence of an external field.

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How to cite


Liu, X., Amini, K., Steinle, T., Sanchez, A., Shaikh, M., Belsa, B.,... Biegert, J. (2019). Imaging an isolated water molecule using a single electron wave packet. Journal of Chemical Physics, 151(2).


Liu, Xinyao, et al. "Imaging an isolated water molecule using a single electron wave packet." Journal of Chemical Physics 151.2 (2019).

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