molecular beams

Also contains definitions of: beam-gas experiments, crossed molecular beams

A molecular beam is produced by allowing a gas at higher pressure to expand through a small orifice into a container at lower pressure. The result is a beam of particles (atoms, free radicals, molecules or ions) moving at approximately equal velocities, with few collisions occurring between them. In a crossed molecular-beam experiment a reaction is studied using collimated beams of reactant molecules. For a bimolecular reaction, beams of the two reactants are caused to impinge on one another, often at an angle of 90°. In a beam-gas scattering experiment a collimated beam is introduced into a gas, and the scattering patterns are observed.
PAC, 1996, 68, 149 (A glossary of terms used in chemical kinetics, including reaction dynamics (IUPAC Recommendations 1996)) on page 175