The exposure of molecules to short, ultrastrong electric fields leads to multiple ionization and a subsequent Coulomb explosion. We present a comparative study where uracil molecules are exposed to fields generated by high-power laser pulses (τ ≈ 75  fs, I>1016  W/cm2) or swift highly charged ions (0.5 MeV Xe25+) representing a half-cycle pulse of less than 10 fs duration. Molecular dynamics and structural information contained in the fragmentation pathways can be assessed separately. Despite the similar field strengths large differences in fragment kinetic energies are found which are related to field shape and duration with the aid of molecular dynamics simulations.
Phys. Rev. Lett.

Schlathölter, T, Hoekstra, R, Zamith, S, Ni, Y.F, Muller, H.G, & Vrakking, M.J.J. (2005). Response of polyatomic molecules to ultrastrong laser- and ion-induced fields. Phys.Rev.Lett., 94(Article number: 233001), 1–4. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.94.233001