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Atomic and Molecular Physics Group, Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences

Université catholique de Louvain

The Atomic and Molecular Physics Group at UCLouvain carries out experimental and theoretical studies of atomic and molecular dynamics induced by collisions and high-intensity laser-matter interaction, thereby contributing to the modeling of thermonuclear, astrophysical, and laser-induced plasmas. The group specializes in the measurement of absolute cross sections for electron, ion and photon induced processes.

Kinetic energy release resulting from mutual neutralization of O- and N+ at a collision energy of 5 meV
Kinetic energy release resulting from mutual neutralization of O- and N+ at a collision energy of 5 meV, as measured with merged beams and 3D imaging of recoiling neutral products.

Low-energy collisions involving both ions and neutrals, in particular charge transfer, proton transfer, and associative reactions, are studied with merged beams combined with imaging techniques, producing total, partial and differential cross sections. The excitation, ionization and dissociation of small molecular ions by electron impact is studied with the animated crossed beam method. Laser-matter interaction is studied experimentally by subjecting atoms or molecules to short and ultrashort pulses from moderate to high intensity, producing generalized cross sections and asymmetry parameters. Attosecond dynamics is treated theoretically by a spectral approach of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation describing the electronic motion.


Professor Xavier URBAIN
Group Website

  • [1] J. Lecointre et al., "A crossed-beam experiment for electron impact ionization and dissociation of molecular ions: its application to CO+", Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 39, 3275-3297 (2006). [link to article]
  • [2] X. Urbain et al., "New Light Shed on Charge Transfer in Fundamental H+ + H2 Collisions", Physical Review Letters 111, 203201 (2013). [link to article]
  • [3] X. Urbain et al., "A zero dead-time multi-particle time and position sensitive detector based on correlation between brightness and amplitude", Review of Scientific Instruments 86, 023305 (2015). [link to article]
  • [4] A. Galstyan et al., "Reformulation of the strong-field approximation for light-matter interactions", Physical Review A 93, 023422 (2016). [link to article]
  • [5] M. Génévriez et al., "One- and two-photon detachment of O", Physical Review A 94, 023407 (2016). [link to article]
  • [6] D. S. Belic et al., "Electron-impact dissociation and ionization of CN+ ions", Physical Review A 95, 052702 (2017). [link to article]
  • [7] M. Génévriez et al., "Absolute cross section for electron-impact ionization of He(1s2sS3)", Physical Review A 96, 010701 (2017). [link to article]
  • [8] A. Le Padellec et al., "Investigation of critical parameters controlling the efficiency of associative ionization", Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 50, 095202 (2017). [link to article]
  • [9] N. De Ruette et al., "Mutual Neutralization of O with O+ and N+ at Subthermal Collision Energies", Physical Review Letters 121, 083401 (2018). [link to article]


Associative Reactions Charge-Exchange Processes Cross Section Measurements Crossed Beams Deuterium Dissociative Charge-Transfer Dissociative Excitation Dissociative Ionization Edge Plasma Electron – Ion Collisions Electron Impact Dissociation Electron Impact Ionization Experiment Heavy Particle Collisions Helium Hydrogen (1H) Hydrogen Isotopes Ion Beams Lithium Merged Beams Molecular Interactions Molecular Spectroscopy Neutral Beams Optical Spectroscopy Photoionization Photon – Ion Interactions Proton-impact ionisation Reactive Scattering