University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Professor Ilya I. Fabrikant
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska
Low-energy electrons play a critical role in a large number of fundamental and applied fields. They can induce specific chemical reactions which are relevant to nanolithography, astrochemistry, planetary and atmospheric chemistry, radiation damage and cancer therapy. One of the most exciting developments in recent molecular physics has been the discovery that low-energy electrons may not only dissociate the molecular target but may do so at well defined reaction sites often leading to almost 100% bond selectivity thence initiating controlled chemical processing in the local environment. The process by which electrons can induce such bond selective molecular fragmentation is known as dissociative electron attachment (DEA).
This talk will present results of our studies of DEA processes in gas phase, on surfaces, and in cluster environment. Our research is particularly focused on electron-induced hydrogen loss in gas-phase biologically-relevant molecules, like simple amino acids. For practical applications to radiation damage it is important to know how DEA processes are modified in condensed-matter environments. To answer this question, we use two approaches: first, we investigate effects of clusterization, in particular how the DEA process is affected when the attaching molecule is placed in a water cluster environment. Second, we study how the DEA rate is affected if the molecule is placed on a surface. The condensed-matter effects can lead both to a strong enhancement and suppression of the attachment rates. The corresponding mechanisms will be discussed in the presentation.