Knowledge of the relevant selection rules is crucial for the accurate interpretation of experimental spectra in general. There has been a consensus for a long time that the incoherent inelastic neutron scattering (INS) spectroscopy of the vibrations of discrete molecular compunds is free from any selection rules. We contradict this widely held view by presenting an analytical derivation of the general selection rule for the INS spectroscopy of a hydrogen molecule inside a near-spherical nanocavity. It defines all forbidden transitions, originating in a range of initial translation-rotation (TR) states, ground and excited, of the caged para- and ortho-H2, as well as HD, that are unobservable in the INS spectra. These predictions are amenable to experimental verification. In addition, we demonstrate that the general selection rule applies to the INS spectroscopy of any diatomic molecule in a nanocavity with near-spherical symmetry, which exhibits strong TR coupling. Its existence strongly suggests that similar selection rules apply to the INS spectra of other molecular and supramolecular systems, and need to be identified.
- neutron scattering
- selection rules
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry