Clocking of electronically and vibrationally state-resolved channels of the fast photodissociation of CH3I in the A-band is re-examined in a combined experimental and theoretical study. Experimentally, a femtosecond pump-probe scheme is employed in the modality of resonant probing by resonance enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) of the methyl fragment in different vibrational states and detection through fragment velocity map ion (VMI) imaging as a function of the time delay. We revisit excitation to the center of the A-band at 268 nm and report new results for excitation to the blue of the band center at 243 nm. Theoretically, two approaches have been employed to shed light into the observations: first, a reduced dimensionality 4D nonadiabatic wavepacket calculation using the potential energy surfaces by Xie et al. [J. Phys. Chem. A 104, 1009 (2000)]; and second, a full dimension 9D trajectory surface-hopping calculation on the same potential energy surfaces, including the quantization of vibrational states of the methyl product. In addition, high level ab initio electronic structure calculations have been carried out to describe the CH3 3pz Rydberg state involved in the (2 + 1) REMPI probing process, as a function of the carbon-iodine (C–I) distance. A general qualitative agreement is obtained between experiment and theory, but the effect of methyl vibrational excitation in the umbrella mode on the clocking times is not well reproduced. The theoretical results reveal that no significant effect on the state-resolved appearance times is exerted by the nonadiabatic crossing through the conical intersection present in the first absorption band. The vibrationally state resolved clocking times observed experimentally can be rationalized when the (2 + 1) REMPI probing process is considered. None of the other probing methods applied thus far, i.e., multiphoton ionization photoelectron spectroscopy, soft X-ray inner-shell photoelectron spectroscopy, VUV single-photon ionization, and XUV core-to-valence transient absorption spectroscopy, have been able to provide quantum state-resolved (vibrational) clocking times. More experiments would be needed to disentangle the fine details in the clocking times and dissociation dynamics arising from the detection of specific quantum-states of the molecular fragments.

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