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Watching Chemical Reactions Happen One Molecule at a Time

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • Duane Physics Room G1B20

Speaker Name(s): 

Heather Lewandowski

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Colorado Boulder
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Physics Department Colloquium

Event Details & Abstract: 

Reactions between ions and radical molecules play an important role in the chemistry that drives dynamics in the interstellar medium and during combustion of hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, experimental measurements of these reactions are very challenging, and thus very rare. We use tools borrowed from the cold atom community to measure ion-molecule reactions in a well-controlled environment. Here, we can study reactions between atoms and molecules in single quantum states at low temperatures. Our high sensitivity allows us to study reactions where the reaction rate can be as low as one reaction per minute. I will present the capabilities of this cold ion-molecule reaction apparatus and some example reactions we have been able to study using this new system.

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