Over the last 20 years, research on clusters and nanometer sized particles has built a basis for the understanding of nanostructured materials as they are now finding their way into technological applications.

In recent years, many research labs in the world picked up on the idea to use helium droplets as cold confinement for molecules that can undergo single molecule reactions almost unperturbed by the superfluid surrounding. By applying this idea to very different molecules such as biomolecules, metallo organics, metal compounds, the nano refrigerator can serve very diverse areas of interest:

  1. study of single molecule reactions as they may occur on cold interstellar dust particles and contributed to the synthesis of molecules in space (astrochemistry),
  2. analysis of single cold molecules regarding their nuclear geometry and the existence of different conformers, e.g. of molecules of biological interest (low temperature physics and chemistry),
  3. systematic state selection and control over electronic and magnetic properties of molecules (manipulation of spin states) through the interaction with static or light fields (atomic and molecular physics),
  4. control over single molecule reactions through the application of fields (chemical physics),
  5. aggregation of cold metal clusters with control over the formation of high or low spin states and the investigation of magnetism in cold metal particles, possibly of superconductivity (low temperature physics).

For advancements in these areas, confinement, low temperature and weak interaction with the environment are prerequisites that are best met by the superfluid nanodroplets.

Goal of this WE-Heraeus-Seminar is to bring together researchers from the helium nanodroplet community with colleagues who pursue other approaches to the area of low-temperature reaction dynamics in order to present their methods and exchange ideas in an interdisciplinary environment. It is expected that experimental techniques used in other reaction dynamics approaches can be applied to or combined with doped helium nanodroplet beams, which should advance the field of cold chemistry. The same holds true for the interaction between theorists who work on related topics.

Scientific organizers: Prof. Wolfgang E. Ernst and Dr. Markus Koch, Institute of Experimental Physics, Graz University of Technology

Last modified: October 18, 2010

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