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- About JILA
Chemical physicists at JILA probe the structure and dynamics of matter; investigate and control the quantum mechanical behavior of chemical reactions; study the process of solvation; and investigate chemical surfaces and polymers. They also study plasma chemistry and the physics of atoms, molecules, and complexes. They use advanced laser-based techniques to better understand hydrogen bonding, hydration, electron transfer, the making and breaking of chemical bonds, chemical reactions, and the fundamental interactions of light with matter. The molecular processes probed in experiments are simulated by theorists to explain results and guide future investigations.
JILA research in chemical physics informs the development of more efficient semiconductor devices and extends our fundamental understanding of femtosecond lasers, microscopy, and surface-based chemical reactions. The goals of chemical physics research at JILA include applying ultracold-matter techniques to cold chemistry, understanding the quantum mechanics of chemistry, and elucidating the structure & reactivity of gas phase ions. JILA's chemical physicists are looking for answers to such questions as:
How do the properties of isolated molecules evolve as they are solvated, one molecule at a time?
How large must molecular clusters be to exhibit the properties of bulk solutions?
What are the structures and reaction dynamics of negative ions?
Can we control the internal states and the position, velocity, and orientation of atoms and molecules during chemical reactions?
How well can we predict and measure the vibrations and rotations of simple molecules?
To what extent can we understand and predict chemical reactions from first principles?
Can we use ultrafast X-rays to watch changes in specific atomic bonds as a chemical reaction unfolds?