Schedule Jan 29, 2013
Chemistry of the Quantum Kind
Edvardas Narevicius, Weizmann Inst.

There has been a long-standing quest to observe chemical reactions at low temperatures where reaction rates and pathways are governed by quantum mechanical effects. So far this field of Quantum Chemistry has been dominated by theory. The difficulty has been to realize in the laboratory low enough collisional velocities between neutral reactants, so that the quantum wave nature could be observed. We will discuss our merged neutral supersonic beams method that enabled the observation of clear quantum effects in low temperature reactions. We observed orbiting resonances in the Penning ionization reaction of argon and molecular hydrogen with metastable helium leading to a sharp increase in the absolute reaction rate in the energy range corresponding to a few degrees kelvin down to 10 mK. Our method is widely applicable to many canonical chemical reactions, and will enable experimental studies of Quantum Chemistry.

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