CHEM 400: Atomic and Molecular Clusters

  • Prerequisite:  CHEM 254 and CHEM 356

Atomic and molecular clusters constitute intermediates between molecules, with clearly defined quantum states, and condensed matter where these states form bands or continua. As such, the study of clusters can be viewed as a means of unravelling the evolution of bulk properties from those of the constituent atoms/molecules. Interestingly, owing to the high ratio of surface atoms to bulk atoms, there are many analogies between the chemistry and physics of clusters and of solid surfaces. For this reason, clusters have traditionally been regarded as test cases for the study of surface reactivity and catalytic activity. More recently, however, attention has shifted towards cluster finite size effects, which lead to electronic, magnetic, optical, and chemical properties that are quite different from those of molecules or condensed matter. Now, the use of clusters as components in nanodevices is also attracting a great deal of attention. This course will describe the experimental generation, detection and interrogation of clusters, as well as the theoretical approaches that have been developed to aid in our understanding of their physical properties.

No text book will be required. Notes that are prepared by the instructor will be distributed.

Reference text: Atomic and Molecular Clusters, R. L. Johnston, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY (2002)

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