Jochen Küpper, Stephan Stern, Henry Chapman, et al,
We report experimental results on x-ray diffraction of quantum-state-selected and strongly aligned ensembles of the prototypical asymmetric rotor molecule 2,5-diiodobenzonitrile using the Linac Coherent Light Source. The experiments demonstrate pioneering steps toward a new bottom-up approach to diffractive imaging of distinct structures of individual, isolated gas-phase molecules. We confirm several key ingredients of single molecule diffraction experiments: the abilities to detect and count individual scattered x-ray photons in single shot diffraction data, to deliver state-selected, e. g., structural-isomer-selected, ensembles of molecules to the x-ray interaction volume, and to strongly align the scattering molecules. Our approach, using ultrashort x-ray pulses, is suitable to study ultrafast dynamics of isolated molecules.
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