Review: Spatially-controlled complex molecules and their applications

06 November, 2015

Our review article on spatially-controlled complex molecules and their applications is published in International Reviews in Physical Chemistry. Ee provide an overview of the creation of structurally pure neutral samples in the gas phase using strong inhomogeneous electric fields in the electrostatic deflector — the electric analog of a Stern-Gerlach deflector.

The separation of complex molecules according to size, structural isomer, and quantum state is discussed by means of experimental realizations and a theoretical description of the electrostatic deflector including an analytical model which allows for an intuitive picture to adapt the geometry of the electrodes for specific applications is provided. In addition, current applications of the controlled samples are summarized. These include investigations on the structure-function relationship via conformer resolved reactions in scattering experiments, the separation of hydrogen bonded clusters to bridge the gap between the gas-phase and bulk chemistry, and X-ray diffraction experiments at novel light sources such as free electron lasers (FELs). In addition, potential interesting future applications are highlighted. These include the separation of enantiomers of chiral molecules for parity violation studies, merged beam reactive scattering experiments, and matrix decomposition methods.