Atom-surface scattering dynamics
Oliver Bünermann leads the Atom-surface scattering dynamics group with co-workers Hongyan Jiang and Yvonne Dorenkamp.
Hydrogen is the most prevalent element in the universe and understanding its surface dynamics has profound implications; implications that range from interstellar chemistry to maximizing performance of neutral beam injectors at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Being one of the simplest model systems for energy conversion at surfaces, H-atom scattering also provides a key to developing new theories of surface chemistry.
In our research, monochromatic H-atom beams with well defined initial directions are produced by small molecule photolysis and the final kinetic energy and scattering angle are measured with extraordinary resolution employing Rydberg Atom Tagging. In the RAT-project, both techniques are adopted and combined with state of the art surface scattering machine, introducing an entirely new approach to surface analysis. Using spin polarized H-atoms, magnetic properties of surfaces may be probed. H-atoms diffraction is also an opportunity to develop new methods of surface structural analysis. In a parallel effort, ultra-short pulses of H-atoms are being developed for initiating real time dynamics of surface reactions.