Title

Ultracold collisions for atom--diatom systems with a reaction barrier

Date of Completion

January 2012

Keywords

Physics, Low Temperature|Physics, Atomic|Physics, Elementary Particles and High Energy

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Theoretical results for ultracold atom-molecule collisions involving exoergic reactions are presented. Systems with a reaction barrier are considered; specifically, we report the results of extensive computations for D + H 2 and Cl + H2. We analyzed the extreme situation of translationally cold collisions between an atom and an internally hot molecule; namely, for D + H2 we explored the role played by the internal vibrational excitation of the diatomic target for initial states H2(υ) with υ = 0,1,2,…, 8. The υ-dependence of the zero-temperature limit of the reaction rate coefficient shows two distinct regimes: a barrier dominated regime for υ < 4, and a barrierless regime for υ > 4. Also, for highly excited initial states, the distribution over the final states of the products shows an approximate conservation of the internal vibrational energy. For Cl + H2 we studied in detail the isotopic effect by varying continuously the mass of H, which allowed us to find resonance effects in the threshold behavior of cross sections. These resonances are caused by long-lived van der Waals complexes (Cl···H2) which have vanishingly small binding energy, or by virtual states of the Cl···H 2 complex. ^