Spatial separation of molecular conformers with interference

The task to sort molecules can be quite challenging if they are very similar. This is even more the case if you want to sort a single molecular species according to its three-dimensional structure. The problem is that for most molecules a number of these so-called conformers are present and that they easily interconvert at room temperature. In a new study we propose how such a sorting can be achieved with molecular interference. We show how internally cold beams populated with just a single structure can be prepared. These might open new vistas for structure-sensitive collision studies. More information can be found here.

All four structures show the same molecule, they only differ in the three-dimensional arrangement. With our method we can make sure that both first diffraction orders (±1) are populated only with the red conformer, while it is a mixture of a four conformers for all other diffraction orders.

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