Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy

The Merkt Group investigates the properties of high Rydberg states of atoms and molecules using laser spectroscopy in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV), the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) and the Terahertz (THz) range. It also studies the photoionization of atoms and molecules at high spectral resolution using a variety of multiply resonant photoexcitation schemes. High-resolution photoelectron spectroscopy in various variants is used and continually refined to study the structural and dynamical properties of molecular cations.
New schemes of controlling the translational motion of atoms and molecules in the gas phase that rely on the use of inhomogeneous electric and magnetic fields are developed. In particular, Rydberg Stark deceleration and Zeeman deceleration are developed as broadly applicable methods of generating cold (T<1K) atomic and molecular samples by slowing cold samples in supersonic beams to zero velocity in the laboratory frame.
A peculiarity of the scientific activity of the group is that it constructs its own coherent VUV and THz radiation sources and most instruments for use in the spectroscopic experiments. We have broadly tunable, narrow-bandwidth laser systems in the range 10-20 eV and from 120 GHz to 10 THz.
The group has a tradition of studying high molecular Rydberg states and explores scientific applications of their unusual properties.


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