Direct imaging of rotational wave-packet dynamics of diatomic molecules

We use linearly polarized 45 fs pulses to create rotational wave packets in N2 and O2. We Coulomb explode molecules with a high-intensity circularly polarized pulse and use an ion imaging detector to measure a series of two-dimensional projections of the wave packet’s angular distribution in 27 fs increments. We highlight the evolving wave packet near the first, second, sixth, and tenth full revival times and also near the one-eighth, one-quarter, one-half, and three-quarter fractional revivals.