The dissociative pathways of the nitromethane molecule have been studied using 10 ns, 7 ps and 90 fs laser pulses. In this paper, the differences between the dissociation channels opened using different laser pulse widths are discussed to investigate the potential for femtosecond laser mass spectrometry (FLMS). Using 90 fs laser pulses, a very large parent ion has been observed but the 10 ns and 7 ps laser pulse widths cannot defeat the lifetimes of the dissociative excited states of nitromethane.

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