Tabletop Femtosecond VUV Photoionization and PEPICO Detection of Microreactor Pyrolysis Products Academic Article uri icon


  • We report the combination of tabletop vacuum ultraviolet photoionization with photoion–photoelectron coincidence spectroscopy for sensitive, isomer-specific detection of nascent products from a pyrolysis microreactor. Results on several molecules demonstrate two essential capabilities that are very straightforward to implement: the ability to differentiate isomers and the ability to distinguish thermal products from dissociative ionization. Here, vacuum ultraviolet light is derived from a commercial tabletop femtosecond laser system, allowing data to be collected at 10 kHz; this high repetition rate is critical for coincidence techniques. The photoion–photoelectron coincidence spectrometer uses the momentum of the ion to identify dissociative ionization events and coincidence techniques to provide a photoelectron spectrum specific to each mass, which is used to distinguish different isomers. We have used this spectrometer to detect the pyrolysis products that result from the thermal cracking of acetaldehyde, cyclohexene, and 2-butanol. The photoion–photoelectron spectrometer can detect and identify organic radicals and reactive intermediates that result from pyrolysis. Direct comparison of laboratory and synchrotron data illustrates the advantages and potential of this approach.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017