The clusters and laser spectroscopy group of the Laboratory for Solid State Physics and Magnetism groups research activities on atomic scale solid state physics, investigated mainly with laser-based and laser spectroscopic techniques.
Binary clusters in the gas phase
Nanoparticles and clusters are attractive research objects since their small size leads to very specific structural,
electrical, magnetic, and optical properties, mainly determined by quantum size effects. Insight in the properties of clusters can be
gained by careful choice of the constituent atoms. For binary clusters, both the variation of the number of valence electrons and the
different interatomic interactions are influencing the electronic and geometric structure of the clusters.
Individual metallic clusters on flat surfaces
Research is conducted on individual metallic clusters deposited on atomically flat surfaces. We examine the influence of the substrate
on shape, structure, and mobility of the deposited clusters and we also probe their electronic structure.
Cluster assembled films
Low-energy cluster beam deposition is used to produce cluster-assembled systems with distinct properties that strongly depend
on their unique morphology. The clusters are produced in a dual-target dual-laser vaporization cluster source, which allows
producing binary clusters. The advantage of the deposition of clusters with low energy is that they survive on the substrate
essentially without fragmentation, and with little deformation.
A strong trend exists in nanotechnology to explore the interface between biomolecules and nanoparticles.
These nano-bio hybrids combine the unique size dependent and tunable properties of nanoparticles with the highly specific
recognition or biocatalytic properties of biomolecules.
We recently started to study the integration of surface deposited nanoparticles with biomolecules.
RIMS and SIMS
When a particle impinges with sufficiently high energy on a surface, material will be removed from the upper layers of the solid.
The fundamental processes that occur strongly depend on a complex interplay between physical and chemical properties of the surface and of the projectiles.
We intend to contribute experimentally to a more fundamental insight in particle-induced desorption phenomena of material from ultra thin overlayers.
Our methodological approach is based on the determination of differential sputtering yields of neutral particles (e.g. population partitions,
state selective flight-time distributions, and fragmentation patterns) using resonance enhanced photoionization in combination with mass spectrometry (REMPI, RIMS).
Nanoparticles and nanostructures exhibit distinct electronic, magnetic, superconducting, optical, etc. properties
because of their large surface to volume ratio and their nanometer dimensions being typically smaller than the relevant physical
length scales that govern these behaviours. In order to gain insight in how these physical properties depend on size, shape
and structure, we aim to fabricate and tailor nanoscale systems of different sizes, shapes, structure, etc.