A detailed account of the experimental methodology of surface pump-probe femtosecond-laser mass spectrometry is presented. This recently introduced technique enables the direct time-resolved investigation of surface reaction dynamics by monitoring the mass and the relative velocity of intermediates and products of a photoinduced surface reaction via multiphoton ionization. As a model system, the photodissociation dynamics of methyl iodide adsorbed at submonolayer coverage on magnesia ultrathin films is investigated. The magnesia surface preparation and characterization as well as the pulsed deposition of methyl iodide are described. The femtosecond-laser excitation (pump) and, in particular, the resonant multiphoton ionization surface detection (probe) schemas are discussed in detail. Results of pump-probe time-resolved methyl and iodine atom detection experiments are presented and the potential of this method for velocity-resolved photofragment analysis is evaluated.
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