Inaugural speech prof. Bas van de Meerakker (Spectroscopy of Cold Molecules) (Lecture)
- Tuesday 30 May 2017Add to my calendar
- from 15:45
prof. Bas van de Meerakker
Control over colliding molecules
Collisions between individual molecules play a decisive role, for example, in combustion processes and gas clouds in interstellar space. The interactions between molecules are still poorly understood: both detailed experiments and theoretical calculations are currently only possible for the simplest systems, such as the collision between a small molecule and an atom.
To learn more about interactions between molecules, experiments must be designed that very accurately observe these molecular collisions. Bas van de Meerakker and his colleagues developed new methods that allow them to collide individual molecules very accurately with each other. Using a “molecular decelerator”, they can control the molecules’ speed very accurately. Next, the molecules collide and recoil into a certain direction, which the researchers capture using lasers. This precise control enables the quantum mechanical details of the collision process to be visualised. Effects are studied that were theoretically predicted several decades ago, but have thus far remained elusive experimentally. In his speech, Bas van de Meerakker talks about this technique, the current state of research, and the plans with which he hopes to obtain a much greater understanding of interactions between molecules.
Bas van de Meerakker (1977) studied Physics at Radboud University Nijmegen and obtained his diploma in 2000. For his PhD research, he first moved to the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen in Nieuwegein, and later to the Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin. He received his PhD in 2006 for research on the development of molecular inhibitors, and molecular braking using this method. After obtaining his PhD and a short stint in the US, he returned to Berlin, and became group leader at the Max Planck Institute. There he further developed the braking method and began a new research direction in which the inhibitors are used for molecular impact assessment. In 2011, he returned to Nijmegen as a university lecturer, and continued the collision research. In November 2016, he was appointed Professor of Experimental Chemical Physics at Radboud University