1994 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dynamics and Kinetics of Molecular Collisions Collisions between molecules resulting in energy transfer or reaction are the fundamental interactions of chemistry. The research in my group is aimed at deepening our understanding of these elementary steps, and uses the unique properties of lasers to prepare and probe the reagents and products. This work is carried out jointly with Prof Ken McKendrick (see our joint research group webpages). 1. Stereodynamics of Gas-Phase Collisions Measurement of vector properties (the stereodynamics) of gas-phase collisions are a sensitive probe of the forces involved. We use a variety of novel spectroscopic techniques to study collisional energy transfer, including polarization spectroscopy, crossed molecular beams with velocity-map imaging and frequency modulated spectroscopy (Figure 1). We interpret the results with the help of quantum scattering calculations, often performed by collaborators in other institutions. Figure 1. CN (A2Pi) prepared with an orientation (preferred sense of rotation). The difference in the signals (the orientation) decreases as collisions with Ar bath gas alter the plane of rotation of the CN. 2. Roaming Atoms and Molecules A new dynamical channel in molecular photodissociations has recently been identified, in which an atomic or molecular fragment ‘roams’ around its partner before reacting to form the products. The signature of a roaming channel appears in the coincident product state distribution. We have recently built a new velocity-map imaging spectrometer (Figure 2), with the aim of identifying how common roaming reactions really are. This work is in collaboration with Dr Dave Townsend (Physics). Figure 2. The newly constructed velocity-map imaging spectrometer. 3. Dynamics at the Gas-Liquid Interface The dynamics of the elementary steps occurring at gas-liquid interfaces has seen very little study, despite their fundamental importance in atmospheric, combustion and other environments. This work, led by Prof Ken McKendrick, studies the inelastic and reactive collisions of OH radicals and oxygen atoms (Figure 3) at surfaces of atmospheric and technological importance. Figure 3. O(3P) atoms are formed by photolysis, fly to the liquid covered surface of a rotating wheel, and the returning OH radicals are probed by laser-induced fluorescence.

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Research Output

  • Probing Conformational Heterogeneity at the Ionic Liquid–Vacuum Interface by Reactive-Atom Scattering

    Smoll, E. J., Purcell, S. M., D’Andrea, L., Slattery, J. M., Bruce, D. W., Costen, M. L., McKendrick, K. G. & Minton, T. K., 17 Jan 2019, In : Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. 10, 2, p. 156-163 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    Real-space laser-induced fluorescence imaging applied to gas-liquid interfacial scattering

    Bianchini, R. H., Roman, M. J., Costen, M. L. & McKendrick, K. G., 7 Aug 2019, In : The Journal of Chemical Physics. 151, 5, 12 p., 054201.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 8 Downloads (Pure)

    Collision-Energy Dependence of the Uptake of Hydroxyl Radicals at Atmospherically Relevant Liquid Surfaces

    Bianchini, R., Tesa-Serrate, M. A., Costen, M. L. & McKendrick, K. G., 29 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 122, 12, p. 6648-6660 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 23 Downloads (Pure)

    Determining the Composition of the Vacuum-Liquid Interface in Ionic-Liquid Mixtures

    Smoll, E. J., Tesa-Serrate, M. A., Purcell, S., D'Andrea, L., Bruce, D. W., Slattery, J. M., Costen, M. L., Minton, T. K. & McKendrick, K. G., 1 Jan 2018, In : Faraday Discussions. 206, p. 497-522 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 22 Downloads (Pure)


    • 6 Invited talk
    • 6 Oral presentation
    • 2 Participation in conference
    • 1 Hosting an academic visitor

    Probing Intermolecular Forces by Vector and Scalar Correlations

    Matthew Lawrence Costen (Invited speaker)
    20 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Vector and Scalar Correlations in Rotationally Inelastic Scattering

    Matthew Lawrence Costen (Invited speaker)
    28 Jun 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    International Symposium on Molecular Beams

    Matthew Lawrence Costen (Member of programme committee)
    23 Jun 201928 Jun 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Scattering Dynamics at the Gas-Liquid Interface

    Matthew Lawrence Costen (Contributor), Paul D. Lane (Speaker)
    29 Jul 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Inelastic and Reactive Scattering at Gas-Liquid Interfaces

    Matthew Lawrence Costen (Keynote speaker)
    26 Jul 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk