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Field-free Three-Dimensional Orientation of Asymmetric-Top Molecules

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posted on 2023-11-30, 05:26 authored by Kang Lin, Ilia Tutunnikov, Junjie Qiang, Junyang Ma, Qiying Song, Qinying Ji, Wenbin Zhang, Hanxiao Li, Fenghao Sun, Xiaochun Gong, Hui Li, Peifen Lu, Heping Zeng, Yehiam Prior, Ilya Sh. Averbukh, Jian Wu
Alignment and orientation of molecules by intense, ultrashort laser fields are crucial for a variety of applications in physics and chemistry. These include control of high harmonics generation, molecular orbitals tomography, control of molecular photoionization and dissociation processes, production of "molecular movies" with the help of X-ray free-electron laser sources and ultrafast electron diffraction of relativistic electrons. While the dynamics of laser-induced molecular alignment has been extensively studied and demonstrated, molecular orientation is a much more challenging task, especially for asymmetric-top molecules. Here we report the first experimental demonstration of a field-free, all-optical three-dimensional orientation of asymmetric-top molecules by means of phase-locked cross-polarized two-color laser pulses. In addition to the conventional integrated orientation factor, we report the differential degree of orientation which is not amenable to optical measurements, but is readily accessible in our angle-resolved imaging technique. Our scheme applies to a wide class of asymmetric molecules and opens new ways towards controlling their orientation, eventually leading to direct imaging of structure of gas-phase molecules using advanced free electron laser beams with extremely high spatiotemporal resolution.

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