One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The passage of a molecule between a quantized vibrational and rotational state (above its ground state) and an unquantized dissociated state of the same energy, resulting in certain bands in the spectrum of the molecule being diffuse instead of having the normal rotational fine structure.
1920s. From pre- + dissociation; apparently coined by V. Henri and M. C. Teves.
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