Professor Gil Alexandrowicz

Areas of Expertise

  • Atomic and molecular beams
  • Surface dynamics
  • Surface diffusion

Publications

  1. & Ice Nucleation on a Corrugated Surface. Journal of the American Chemical Society 140(46), 15804-15811.
  2. & A magnetically focused molecular beam source for deposition of spin-polarised molecular surface layers. The Journal of Chemical Physics 149(16), 164201
  3. & Parallel and anti-parallel echoes in beam spin echo experiments. Results in Physics 12, 381-391.
  4. & Two-Dimensional Wetting of a Stepped Copper Surface. Physical Review Letters 120(7)
  5. & A general method for controlling and resolving rotational orientation of molecules in molecule-surface collisions. Nature Communications 8, 15357

See more...

Teaching

  • CH-127 Chemical Practice

    This module will introduce students to the three broad employment areas for chemistry: research, teaching or industrial positions. The lecture portion will cover fundamental aspects of being a professional chemist including safety, report writing, project management, and teaching skills. Students will then spend 60 hours with research faculty, on an industrial field trip or serving as a teacher's aide. Assessment will be by coursework, continuing reports on their project, and a final oral and written report.

  • CH-241 Analytical Chemistry

    This course will cover theory and applications of qualitative and quantitative analytical chemistry, with particular emphasis on quantitative chemical analysis. The students will learn about various processes and measurements involved in a chemical analysis, and about statistical analyses of the data acquired during such experiments. The topics related to both classic (e.g., titrations) and modern analytical techniques (e.g., separations and spectroscopy) will be covered. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-344 Chemistry Project

    3rd year projects are the opportunity to bring all you've learnt during your degree together and apply that knowledge to solve a problem. In Swansea these projects can be embedded in active research groups across the colleges of science, engineering or medicine, allowing you to build a network and experience in your chosen specialism within the chemical sciences. These projects are your opportunity to demonstrate to employers that you have a full understanding of your course and are able to direct your own studies, manage an independent research project and effectively communicate your findings. This selection suggests an interest in a project embedded within a research group in engineering, focusing on materials chemistry or chemical engineering

  • CH-345 Materials Chemistry Project

    3rd year projects are the opportunity to bring all you've learnt during your degree together and apply that knowledge to solve a problem. In Swansea these projects can be embedded in active research groups across the colleges of science, engineering or medicine, allowing you to build a network and experience in your chosen specialism within the chemical sciences. These projects are your opportunity to demonstrate to employers that you have a full understanding of your course and are able to direct your own studies, manage an independent research project and effectively communicate your findings. This selection suggests an interest in a project embedded within a research group in engineering, focusing on materials chemistry or chemical engineering

  • CH-349 Integrated Topics in Chemistry

    This module gives students the opportunity to explore options within Chemistry, giving opportunity to apply prior learning to advanced research topics and allowing students to pursue more specialised topics related to their research interests and aligned with the research areas represented within the Department. Study areas available will include advanced spectroscopic techniques, the application of instrumentation in chemistry, as well as more advanced synthetic pathways and a return to more integrated study of the traditional branches of organic/inorganic/physical chemistry. Classes will be supported with workshops which will help students gain a thorough understanding of the integrated nature of Chemistry at an advanced level. Where possible, topics will be taught using relevant examples from primary literature, encouraging students to evaluate and appraise a range of primary literature sources and locate appropriate new sources. The module is designed to be flexible to allow the content to vary with the research areas represented within the Department.

Supervision

  • Studying molecule-surface interactions using magnetically manipulated molecular beams. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Christian Klinke

Group Members

  • Dr Helen Chadwick, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Dr Hamza Labiad, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Mr Yosef Alkoby, PhD Student
  • Mrs Parisa Rahbari, Research Assistant

Research Activities

The common theme to the research activities of my group is developing and using new molecular beam methods to study surface structure, surface dynamics and the interaction of gas phase molecules with surfaces. We have recently relocated from the Technion to the new chemistry department at Swansea University and and are currently pursuing three different research activities:  

Controlling and measuring the rotational orientation of molecules during a molecule-surface collision:  When a molecule collides with a surface there are various potential outcomes. The molecule can scatter elastically or inelastically in different diffraction channels, it can stick intact to the surface or it might dissociate and chemisorb on the surface. There are various molecular properties which govern the probabilities of the different collision outcomes, such as the chemical identity of the molecule and surface atoms, the temperature of the surface, the velocity of the molecule, its vibrational state and its rotational state. Over the years many methods have been developed to measure these dependencies and improve our understanding of the molecule-surface interaction potential. One particularly difficult property to control and measure is the rotational projection quantum state, which can be interpreted classically as the rotational orientation of the molecule. Our group has recently developed a new coherent control technique which allowed for the first time to control and measure the rotational orientation of ground state hydrogen molecules as they collide with a surface [Nature Communications, 8, 15357 (2017)].  We have recently received an ERC Consolidator research grant which focuses on further developing this technique to a state where it can be used to extract quantitative measurements of the molecule-surface interaction potential and apply it to study the rotational orientation dependence of relatively simple, yet fundamentally important molecule-surface systems.
 
Spin isomer separation: Another project we are pursuing is the development of spin-separation methods for molecular beams and the application of these beams to perform hyper-sensitive surface studies. Separating the nuclear-spin isomers of molecules is a field which has attracted considerable interest over the years due its importance in a wide variety of fields and applications. Examples include enhancing the sensitivity of nuclear magnetic resonance measurements as well as the estimation of inter-stellar temperatures in the field of astrophysics. We demonstrated that a molecular beam of water can be focused to obtain a high purity beam of ortho-water, work which was published in Science magazine [Science, 331, 319(2011)]. We have since shown that the ortho-water molecules we produce can be stored for long periods inside a cold gas matrix [Physical Review A, 86, 062710 (2012)], and that the focusing technique can be extended to methane and acetylene [The Journal of Chemical Physics 149, 164201 (2018)]. One research project we are now pursuing is to utilize our spin-separation apparatus in order to grow a hyper-polarized thin layer of water on a surface and enable the first measurements of pre-polarized proton NMR. If this activity is successful, the contribution of the NMR technique to the field of surface science will be dramatically enhanced.
 
Surface Dynamics: We have developed and built a high resolution helium spin echo spectrometer in our lab. In this apparatus an atomic-beam of helium-3 atoms is magnetically manipulated and then scattered from the surface we wish to study. Ultra fast motion on the surface is detected by measuring the interference of the two nuclear spin states of the helium atom. The ultra-high energy resolution of this technique (micro electron volts) leads to the ability to measure atomic-scale surface dynamics, on a unique time range of pico to nano seconds, a range which is not accessible using any other conventional method. Since the way an atom or a molecule moves on a surface reflects all the interactions it experiences, atomic-scale motion measurements supply a rare opportunity to study the inter-molecular and molecule-surface interactions as well as the energy exchange rate between the moving species and the surface below. Using the HSE technique we have studied over the years a wide range of adsorbate systems. Examples include studying the adsorption energy landscape of CO on a copper surface[Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 156103 (2004)], revealing the complex many-body interactions in CO/Pt(111)[ JACS, 130, 6789(2008)], studying the 3D correlated motion of sodium atoms on a copper surface[Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 156103 (2006)], determining the nano-scale friction and potential energy surface of propane on a platinum surface[New Journal of Physics, 10, 125026(2008)] and studying the effect atomic steps have on the correlated motion of an adsorbed particle[Journal of Physical Chemistry  Letters., 2015, 6, 4165 (2015). The HSE instrument is also a state of the art diffractometer which can be used to determine structure of surface layers, for example we used the apparatus to reveal the surprisingly ordered structure of an ice layer on a gold surface[Journal of Physical Chemistry – C, 117, 23657 (2013)].

Education

2002 - 2005 PhD studies in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Supervisor: Dr John Ellis.
1997 - 1999 MSc studies in Physics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Supervisor: Prof Noam Kaplan.
1994 - 1997 BSc studies in Physics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Awards and Prizes

2018 ERC consolidator grant 
2017 Yanai prize for excellence in teaching
2015 & 2016 Schulich excellence in teaching awards
2015 Excellent Young Scientist Prize – ICS
2012 ERC starting grant 
2012 Krill Prize – Wolf foundation
2011 Henry Taub Award
2009 Alon Fellowship
2005 ECOSS Young Researcher Prize – ECOSS-23, Berlin
2005 Research Fellowship Competition - Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University    
2002 Overseas Research Awards Scheme
2001 Gates Cambridge Scholarship