The concept of directional axis distributions and orientation-dependent reaction cross sections is used to describe the effect of the mutual orientation of reagents on the outcome of reactive beam collisions. The axis distributions and cross sections are expanded in series of Legendre polynomials and real spherical harmonics, respectively, and characterized by the expansion coefficients (moments). The interrelations between the moments of the cross sections and the directionally dependent experimental data (steric effects) on the one hand and the anisotropic properties of the potential energy surfaces on the other hand are presented. Recent progress in the field of dynamical stereochemistry results from the prep­ aration of molecular orientation and alignment by using the novel brute force technique and an optical method, respectively. The theories of both methods are summarized, and typical experimental arrangements are presented. All experimental results based on these techniques are reviewed. Among the most important ones are the first orientation effects observed in a reaction with a 1Σ: molecule (K + ICl) and the alignment effects found in the bench mark reaction Li + HF → LiF + H.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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