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Rich Loomis

Washington University in St. Louis
Probing the Dependence of Intermolecular Interactions on Geometry
Reactions at the low temperatures relevant to atmospheric and interstellar chemistry are often dictated by long-range intermolecular forces. These forces can stabilize reactants together in non-chemically bound clusters that can live for long times relative to that of reaction times at higher temperatures. Once in a cluster, different orientations can be sampled and only when geometries associated with the reaction coordinate are sampled do the reactants proceed to products. We use supersonic expansions and numerous laser spectroscopy methods to characterize the intermolecular forces that dominate at very low temperatures. Very subtle aspects of the intermolecular potentials can be characterized.
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