Time-resolved studies of microsolvated molecules

Domain topic

Atomic and Molecular Physics



Energy transport is at the heart of aqueous chemistry, ranging from electric conduction over aerosol chemistry to the driving forces of life. In atmospheric chemistry, nanometer-sized molecular clusters are recognized to grow into sizes that make them available as cloud condensation nuclei and to influence the Earth’s climate by affecting the incoming solar radiation, either directly or by influencing cloud properties. Investigations of small molecular clusters in interaction with water molecules has become a necessity to scrutinize the underlying growth mechanisms. However, despite large efforts to understand the dynamics in the liquid phase, e.g., the Grotthuss mechanism, the details of the interaction between a solute and a solvent are still largely unexplored at the atomic scale. A crucial step toward an in-depth understanding of the complex aqueous biological systems and aerosols is to study the molecules in solution with the same level of detail as we currently do for isolated molecules.

Project Description

Microsolvation in molecular clusters enables to bridge the gap between free molecules and liquids. Here we propose to develop to develop a versatile next generation molecular beam setup as a state-of-the-art injector of size- and species-selected solute-solvent complexes, with multiple solvent molecules added one-by-one, for investigations of such micro-solvated molecules at any light source – be it table-top (attosecond) short- pulse lasers, (high-repetition rate) free-electron lasers, or synchrotrons. These developments will directly build upon the recent improvements of the cluster-formation and species-selection processes made by the applicants.

Methodological keywords

Hydrodynamics, molecular beams, assembly and calibration, feedback-loop