Photochemistry of Matrix Isolation of Reactive Molecules

A molecule is made in the lab by one of the graduate students and then isolated in the argon matrix, as discussed on the previous page. After the molecules are isolated, light is shined on them to transform them into higher energy, more reactive molecules. Using light to cause a chemical reaction is called photochemistry. These reactive molecules are often the kind of molecules found in space! This process is diagrammed below. A key at the bottom shows what molecule or atom each shape represents.

Click on the arrow with the word light over it to see what happens when the molecules absorb light energy.

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