In our laboratory a novel and convenient technique has been developed to generate an intense pulsed cyano radical beam to be employed in crossed molecular beam experiments investigating the chemical dynamics of bimolecular reactions. CN radicals in their ground electronic state 2S1 are produced in situ via laser ablation of a graphite rod at 266 nm and 30 mJ output power and subsequent reaction of the ablated species with molecular nitrogen, which acts also as a seeding gas. A chopper wheel located after the ablation source and before the collision center selects a 9 ms segment of the beam. By changing the delay time between the pulsed valve and the choppper wheel, we can select a section of the pulsed CN~X2S1! beam choosing different velocities in the range of 900–1920 ms21 with speed ratios from 4 to 8. A high-stability analog oscillator drives the motor of the chopper wheel ~deviations less than 100 ppm of the period!, and a high-precision reversible motor driver is interfaced to the rotating carbon rod. Both units are essential to ensure a stable cyanogen radical beam with velocity fluctuations of less than 3%. The high intensity of the pulsed supersonic CN beam of about 2 – 331011 cm23 is three orders of magnitude higher than supersonic cyano radical beams employed in previous crossed molecular beams experiments. This data together with the tunable velocity range clearly demonstrate the unique power of our newly developed in situ production of a supersonic CN radical beam. This versatile concept is extendible to generate other intense, pulsed supersonic beams of highly unstable diatomic radicals, among them BC, BN, BO, BS, CS, SiC, SiN, SiO, and SiS, which are expected to play a crucial role in interstellar chemistry, chemistry in the solar system, and/or combustion processes.
A Versatile Source to Produce High-Intensity, Pulsed Supersonic Radical Beams for Crossed-Beam Experiments: the Cyanogen Radical, CN(X 2Σ+), as a Case Study / Kaiser, R. I.; Ting, J. W.; Huang, L. C. L.; Balucani, N.; Lee, Y. T.; Chan, H.; Stranges, Domenico; Gee, D.. - In: REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS. - ISSN 0034-6748. - STAMPA. - 70:(1999), pp. 4185-4191. [10.1063/1.1150050]