Imaging molecular collisions using a coilgun 

Friday 13 January 2023, 12:30 pm
V. Plomp MSc.
prof. dr. S.Y.T. van de Meerakker
dr. J. Onvlee

In this doctoral research a novel type of Zeeman decelerator, a “molecular coilgun”, was employed to obtain precise control over magnetic particles and prepare them for cold and controlled molecular collision experiments. Combined with improved detection techniques this allowed to image the collision outcome with extraordinary precision. Thus, elusive quantum mechanical effects were observed that originate from the wave-character of the particles, like fine oscillations in the angular scattering distributions and rapid changes of the collision outcome around specific “resonant” collision energies. The measurements were in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions, but some discrepancies exist that can potentially challenge the used theoretical models. These results underline the prospects for further high-precision investigations of scattering processes that put these quantum scattering models to the test and can ultimately help to gain a detailed understanding of molecular interactions.  

Vikram Plomp (Arnhem, 1994) studied Physics and Astronomy at Radboud University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in 2015 and a Master's degree in 2017. He conducted his PhD research at the Spectroscopy of Cold Molecules department at RU. He is currently working as a postdoc researcher at the same department.