My research employs a variety of CW and pulsed lasers and techniques, including UV, visible and IR spectroscopy, as well as mass and high resolution ZEKE photoelectron spectroscopy. Its aim is to contribute to fundamental understanding of the bonding and structures of molecules and of the dynamics of their reactions.
We use extensively the laser vaporization techniques developed in my laboratory to produce cold gas phase molecules, clusters, radicals or ions, which are investigated either directly in the gas phase, or trapped in solid matrices. An efficient and versatile external molecular beam source was coupled to a high resolution FT- ICR mass spectrometer which is mainly used to study the stability and reactions of a variety of clusters.
Investigations of reactions of anionic or cationic clusters of mainly transition metals as a function of their charge and size provide interesting insights into the metal-ligand interactions, and into catalysis and chemical bond activation. Ionic "nanodroplets", that is ions solvated with up to 200 molecules of water or other solvent can be used for studying a number of typical bulk solution processes, such as ionic dissolution, precipitation, acid-base catalysis or redox-reactions in a microscopic detail in the gas phase.
The radicals or ions can also be deposited and "isolated" in low temperature matrices, usually solidified inert gases such as neon or argon, and studied then by IR, visible or UV spectroscopy or by laser induced fluorescence. Ions can prior to deposition be mass selected. Other projects of my group involve multiphoton ZEKE spectroscopy, as well as highly sensitive "cavity ringdown" absorption spectroscopy in the gas phase.
In most cases, the spectroscopic and structural information obtained in the experimental studies is then complemented by high quality quantum mechanical computations.