Group of Thomas Bally

Current group members:

Prof. Thomas BallyPrincipal Investigatorp
Anna BlochPhD student since October 2006
Alessandro ValentePh.D. student since March 2007
Vladimir MisicPh.D. student since October 2008
Christian BorceaPh.D. student since February 2009

Research interests:

Our general interest is in the chemistry and spectroscopy of reactive intermediates, mostly of organic origin, which we investigate by electronic and vibrational spectroscopy by embedding them in cryogenic matrices (Freon glasses at 77K or argon matrices at 12K).

By this technique we investigate carbenes, nitrenes, and radicals and occasionally also other transient species such as strained hydrocarbons, cumulenes etc. which we usually generate by some photochemical technique from suitable precursors.

Our specialty is, however, the study of radical ions, the primary intermediates of single-electron transfer processes, such as they occur in many processes of technical or biological relevance. We generate those highly reactive species by ionizing neutral precursors with gamma rays (in the case of Freon matrices) or X-rays (if they are embedded in argon matrices), whereby the ionization occurs not by direct interaction of the substrate with the hard radiation, but by electron transfer to or from the solvent.

Very recently we have begun to carry over the radiolytic technique to ionize radicals that we generate by pulsed pyrolysis, using a hyperthermal nozzle of the type pioneered by Peter Chen. Thus we have acquired the possibility to make also closed-shell cations and anions.

The focus of our current research is on the study of changes in chemical bonding or molecular structure on electron transfer as well as on the photochemistry of radical ions. In order to understand the mechanisms of such rearrangements, we employ different theoretical methods based on quantum chemistry to model our spectroscopic observation and the potential energy surfaces on which such rearrangements take place.

Selected recent publications (one per year):

full list of publications (many downloadable)