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We demonstrate the use of intense, quasi-half-cycle THz pulses, with an associated electric field component comparable to intramolecular electric fields, to direct the reaction coordinate of a chemical reaction by stimulating the nuclear motions of the reactants. Using a strong electric field from a THz pulse generated via coherent transition radiation from an ultrashort electron bunch, we present evidence that CO oxidation on Ru(0001) is selectively induced, while not promoting the thermally induced CO desorption process. The reaction is initiated by the motion of the O atoms on the surface driven by the electric field component of the THz pulse, rather than thermal heating of the surface.


This article was originally published in Physical Review Letters, volume 115, issue 3, in 2015. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.036103

150303SM.pdf (103 kB)
Supplemental Material for details of (a) experimental setup (b) sample preparation (c) coverage estimation.


American Physical Society



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