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From our users : A look inside a molecule

Based on the press release by the University of Innsbruck

Even the simplest molecular compounds are still not fully understood. A team of scientists, led by the Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, have now mapped in detail how negative ions bind to hydrogen molecules - the simplest molecules there are - and have presented a precise quantum mechanical description. The results are published in the Journal of Chemical Physics and the article is featured on the cover.

The Journal of Chemical Physics

The team had long wanted to investigate the binding of hydrogen or analogous anions to hydrogen molecules. So far, however, this has proven to be very difficult experimentally. The decisive factor was the use of a free electron laser, whose infrared photons are sufficient to break the weak bond between the molecular bindings. "Investigations in this spectral area would not be possible with conventional lasers," says Roland Wester, who led the team. The researchers came to Nijmegen to use the cryogenic ion trap apparatus FELion coupled to one of the FELIX lasers for their experiments. At our lab, they succeeded in performing the decisive measurements and thereby discovering the spectral lines that had previously been predicted by theoretical colleagues. Aravindh Marimuthu, one of our PhD students involved in the experimental campaign: " Besides our own experiments, we collaborate with external researchers that use our unique instruments for their research. Very instructive, as you get to know more about their research and have to brainstorm together how to set up the experiment.  And this way, we keep a broad vision."

Related article
Strong ortho/para effects in the vibrational spectrum of Cl(H2), Franziska Dahlmann, Christine Lochmann,  Aravindh N. Marimuthu, Miguel Lara-Moreno, Thierry Stoecklin,  Philippe Halvick, Maurice Raoult, Olivier Dulieu, Robert Wild,  Stephan Schlemmer, Sandra Brünken and  Roland Wester, J. Chem. Phys. 155, 241101 (2021)

More information

Sandra Brünken
Press release by the University of Innsbruck