Nanocluster physics laboratory



Nanoclusters are agglomerates of a finite number of atoms or molecules, from a few to thousands, forming a bridge between small molecules and crystalline materials. The evolution of their properties and structures can be traced as a function of size, and quantum effects unique to finite systems can be observed.

Our research concentrates on studying free clusters (flying in a beam), which offers two benefits. First, this enables us to use mass spectrometry and therefore provides absolutely precise knowledge of cluster size and composition. Secondly, this guarantees that the cluster is free of any external influences, such as substrates and solvents.

This is a genuinely interdisciplinary field of nanoscience research, contacting condensed-matter, molecular, atomic, and even nuclear physics, and having practical implications for surface science, quantum dot electronics, nanoscale materials synthesis, catalysis, atmospheric science, biological physics and sensing, etc. The lab employs the arsenal of beam spectroscopy tools to investigate, in a controlled manner and with a precise knowledge of size, a variety of important prototype systems.

Current projects

Metal nanoclusters

Water clusters

Helium nanodroplets

Nanoparticle deposition

Our research is supported by the National Science Foundation and by the Army Research Office.


Group members

Patrick Edwards
Malak Khojasteh
Daniel Merthe

John Niman

Diego Hernandez

Jiahao (Will) Liang




Physics teaching links