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"Colliding particles and their applications", Friday, November 4, 12:00pm, MH 629


Mark Zammit, Los Alamos National Laboratory

ABSTRACT:Chemical reactions are the basis of life, and accurately describing chemical reactions is thus of great importance to science and has major implications in innovation, industry and medicine. Collisions between electrons, atoms and molecules underlie these chemical reactions. However, after many decades and attempts, predictions of what happens during these collisions (involving molecules) have remained quantitatively inconsistent with measurements and the problem was largely unsolved.
To tackle this problem, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Curtin University in Australia have developed “the convergent close-coupling code” (CCC), to model the simplest collisions between electrons, positrons (anti-electrons), atoms and molecules. Starting from the first principles of Quantum Mechanics and utilizing super computers, the program very accurately calculates the probability of collision processes such as the ionization or excitation of a molecule.
To date the method has been applied to positron and electron scattering from molecular hydrogen H2 and electron (e-) scattering from the constituents of fusion plasmas: H2, its ions H2+ and the ions isotopologues. Results from these studies are in good agreement with experiments and will have direct implications in the modeling of fusion plasmas, design of aerospace materials (for atmospheric entry), astrophysics and atmospheric modeling. In this talk, I will describe the CCC method, present some recent results and discuss opportunities afforded to young researchers.