The near ultraviolet photodissociation dynamics of azomethane Academic Article uri icon


  • The photodissociation of azomethane following absorption of a single 351 nm photon was studied using the method of molecular beam photofragment translational spectroscopy. The dissociation was observed to proceed via cleavage of both C-N bonds to yield N2 and two methyl radicals. The measured time-of-flight spectra show evidence that the two methyl radicals possess unequal velocities in the azomethane center of mass suggesting that the dissociation is not symmetric. The angles between the asymptotic center-of-mass velocities for all three fragments are strongly correlated, implying that the methyldiazenyl radical (CH3N2) intermediate decomposes within a fraction of its rotational period. We conclude, therefore, that the dissociation is concerted, not stepwise as was inferred from recent time-resolved experiments. The overall translational energy distributions for all the photofragments in the azomethane center of mass reveal that an average of 60% of the total available energy appears as translation. A possible mechanism, consistent with the experimental findings, will be proposed and discussed. © 1993 American Institute of Physics.

author list (cited authors)

  • North, S. W., Longfellow, C. A., & Lee, Y. T.

citation count

  • 38

publication date

  • September 1993