• Morrigan, L.; Neville, S.P.; Gregory, M.; Boguslavskiy, A.E.; Forbes, R.; Wilkinson, I.; Lausten, R.; Stolow, A.; Schuurman, M.S.; Hockett, P.; Makhija, V.: Ultrafast Molecular Frame Quantum Tomography. Physical Review Letters 131 (2023), p. 193001/1-9

Open Access Version

We develop and experimentally demonstrate a methodology for a full molecular frame quantum tomography (MFQT) of dynamical polyatomic systems. We exemplify this approach through the complete characterization of an electronically nonadiabatic wave packet in ammonia (NH3). The method exploits both energy and time-domain spectroscopic data, and yields the lab frame density matrix (LFDM) for the system, the elements of which are populations and coherences. The LFDM fully characterizes electronic and nuclear dynamics in the molecular frame, yielding the time- and orientation-angle dependent expectation values of any relevant operator. For example, the time-dependent molecular frame electronic probability density may be constructed, yielding information on electronic dynamics in the molecular frame. In NH3, we observe that electronic coherences are induced by nuclear dynamics which nonadiabatically drive electronic motions (charge migration) in the molecular frame. Here, the nuclear dynamics are rotational and it is nonadiabatic Coriolis coupling which drives the coherences. Interestingly, the nuclear-driven electronic coherence is preserved over longer timescales. In general, MFQT can help quantify entanglement between electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom, and provide new routes to the study of ultrafast molecular dynamics, charge migration, quantum information processing, and optimal control schemes.