Indexed on: 02 Sep '11Published on: 02 Sep '11Published in: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Cold molecules promise to reveal a rich set of novel collision dynamics in the low-energy regime. By combining for the first time the techniques of Stark deceleration, magnetic trapping, and cryogenic buffer gas cooling, we present the first experimental observation of cold collisions between two different species of state-selected neutral polar molecules. This has enabled an absolute measurement of the total trap loss cross sections between OH and ND(3) at a mean collision energy of 3.6 cm(-1) (5 K). Due to the dipolar interaction, the total cross section increases upon application of an external polarizing electric field. Cross sections computed from ab initio potential energy surfaces are in agreement with the measured value at zero external electric field. The theory presented here represents the first such analysis of collisions between a (2)Π radical and a closed-shell polyatomic molecule.