Science, Vol.371, No.6532, 936-+, 2021
Quantum interference between spin-orbit split partial waves in the F plus HD -> HF plus D reaction
The effect of electron spin-orbit interactions on chemical reaction dynamics has been a topic of much research interest. Here we report a combined experimental and theoretical study on the effect of electron spin and orbital angular momentum in the F + HD -> HF + D reaction. Using a high-resolution imaging technique, we observed a peculiar horseshoe-shaped pattern in the product rotational-state-resolved differential cross sections around the forward-scattering direction. The unusual dynamics pattern could only be explained properly by highly accurate quantum dynamics theory when full spin-orbit characteristics were considered. Theoretical analysis revealed that the horseshoe pattern was largely the result of quantum interference between spin-orbit split-partial-wave resonances with positive and negative parities, providing a distinctive example of how spin-orbit interaction can effectively influence reaction dynamics.