Research lines

Atomic Collisions and Surface Physics Division

Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

The research activities in this topic focus on atomic and molecular processes induced by radiation (particles and photons) impact. The data generation, compilation and assessment of these processes and determination of structural properties of matter are relevant to several research areas like fusion energy, plasma physics, astronomy, medicine, biology, technology, etc. The activities are concentrated in two research groups:

Experimental ion beam impact research. Investigations on electronic emission and molecular dissociation processes by ion beam impact on atomic and molecular targets are developed employing the TANDEM ion accelerator, KEVATRON accelerator (Cockroft-Walton machine that operates in the range 20–300 kV) and COLTRIMS detector (for measurement of collision events at the fully differential level). The ion beam techniques allow quantitative elemental composition analysis of samples. Theses available techniques for material analysis are applied to many areas, as thin film analysis, elemental analysis of biological samples, archeology and forensic science. Ion implantation and studies of radiation damage by ion impact are also possible.

Collision theory and ultrafast quantum dynamics. The main objetive is the research and development of theoretical tools and models to study ionization and fragmentation processes of atomic and molecular systems by the impact of electrons, positrons, ions, protons, photons and intense laser pulses. The current research lines are the study of attosecond physics within photoionization of atoms/molecules in intense laser fields and the Ab-initio calculation of 3-body wavefunction basis to study reactive dynamics and low energy ionization collisions of atomic and molecular systems.

Surface Physics

Surface Functionalization with atoms and molecules. The aim of the current research line is to achieve the knowledge for the control of functionalization of all type of surfaces through the adsorption of atoms and molecules for specific purposes.  The experiments and calculations in the field of   Surface Science are conducted with the aim of identifying and comprehend the role of the parameters and the mechanisms involved in adsorbate-adsorbate and  adsorbate-surface interactions  that are present in a broad range of single and multilayer arrangements. The playground are all type of well characterized surfaces (in terms of crystallography, electronic, topography) with atoms and molecules deposited under UHV conditions to form the building blocks of structures having high interest on areas such as bio-inspired catalysis, organic molecular electronics, organic sensors, formation of bi-dimentional systems, supramolecular chemistry, among others.

Interaction of atoms and ions with solids and surfaces. The aim of the current research line is to study fundamental processes of ion beam interaction with solids and surfaces. In particular, the dependence of the stopping power on the electronic properties of the material, and the dependence of the irradiation damage on the microstructure of alloyed materials. Additionally, we have concentrated in developing techniques based on ion and atom spectroscopies to characterize surfaces of solid materials. The study of the interaction of energetic ions with matter (solid and surfaces) plays an important role in many fields like radiation damage and modification of inert and biological materials,  implantation and doping of semiconductors in electronic industry; with applications on nuclear reactors, cancer treatment therapies, ion radiochemistry, surface science and material analysis, among others.

Nuclear Fusion and Plasma Physics Division

Suprathermal particles dynamics in fusion plasmas. The main Objetive is ti study the effect of large scale MHD fluctuations and inelastic collisions on the dynamics of suprathermal particles in fusión plasmas. The particles are treated in the tracer approximation. The confinement of high energy (suprathermal) particles, fusión born alpha particles or ions produced by NBI, is critical in fusion reactors. Any process that increases the losses of these particles will degrade reactor performance

Stability, reconnection and relaxation in fusion plasmas. The main objetive is to show that reconnection and relaxation can be used to form and sustain magnetic configurations for the confinement of fusion plasmas in simply connected containers. Unstable, magnetized plasmas tend to relax to a state of minimum energy while keeping the magnetic helicity approximately constant. This property, which is also important in astrophysical plasmas, can be used to form and sustain configurations of interest for the confinement of fusion plasmas. In particular, configurations with nested toroidal magnetic surfaces can be produced inside simply connected containers. This would result in simpler, cheaper fusion reactors.