Jutta Toscano (University of Basel

Manoeuvring chemical reactions one degree of freedom at a time

The combined use of electric fields, magnetic fields and laser light affords us an ever-increasing level of control over the properties of atoms and molecules, enabling reactivity to be probed as a function of their various degrees of freedom [1]. Here, we discuss how electrostatic deflection [2] can be employed to disentangle the reactivity of molecules in different rotational states, or with different spatial orientation of their constituent atoms [3]. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time the sympathetic cooling of different conformational isomers within a Coulomb crystal [4], setting the scene for fully conformationally selected ion–molecule reaction studies.


[1] J. Toscano et al., PCCP 22, 9180 (2020).

[2] Y.-P. Chang et al., Int. Rev. Phys. Chem. 34, 557 (2015).

[3] A. Kilaj et al., Nat. Commun. 12, 6047 (2021).

[4] L. Xu et al., arXiv:2308.03935 (2023).