Angular distribution; Carbon dioxide; Ionization; Molecular orbitals; Probability density function; Alignment angle; Angular dependence; Laser fields; Molecular dynamics
We experimentally measure the ionization probability as a function of alignment angle of three molecules in intense laser fields: nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Unlike atoms, molecules have a rotational degree of freedom. By controlling the alignment of the molecule relative to the laser field, molecules offer additional ways to understand strong-field ionization. The angular dependence of ionization directly maps to the orbital symmetry of each molecule. Carbon dioxide is seen to have a very sharp preference for ionization when aligned at 45 degrees to the laser field, in significant disagreement with current theories.
Physical Review Letters98, no. 24, 243001 (11 June 2007).