A chopper wheel construct is used to shorten the duration of a molecular beam to 13 μs. Molecular beams seeded with NO or with Br2 and an initial pulse width of ≥200 μs were passed through a spinning chopper wheel, which was driven by a brushless DC in vacuo motor at a range of speeds, from 3000 rpm to 80,000 rpm. The resulting duration of the molecular-beam pulses measured at the laser detection volume ranged from 80 μs to 13 μs and was the same for both NO and Br2. The duration is consistent with a simple analytical model, and the minimum pulse width measured is limited by the spreading of the beam between the chopper and the detection point as a consequence of the longitudinal velocity distribution of the beam. The setup adopted here effectively eliminates buildup of background gas without the use of a differential pumping stage, and a clean narrow pulse is obtained with low rotational temperature.
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