A mixture of CF4 and CO gases is used to study photoelectron recoil effects extending into the tender x-ray region. In CF4, the vibrational envelope of the C 1s photoelectron spectrum becomes fully dominated by the recoil-induced excitations, revealing vibrational modes hidden from Franck-Condon excitations. In CO, using CF4 as an accurate energy calibrant, we determine the partitioning of the recoil-induced internal excitation energy between rotational and vibrational excitation. The observed rotational recoil energy is 2.88(28) times larger than the observed vibrational recoil energy, well in excess of the ratio of 2 predicted by the basic recoil model. The experiment is, however, in good agreement with the value of 2.68 if energy transfer via Coriolis coupling is included.
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