Reanimating Atoms, Molecules and A Few Things in Between

Dr. Petro Maksymovych (host Henriksen), Oak Ridge National Laboratory Institute
September 17, 2018 at 11:00 am
12 Brauer
Event Description 

Manipulation of single atoms and molecules is one of the most striking achievements of nanoscience. In the present paradigm, the control over atomic positions is achieved by using highly localized stimulus applied to relatively weakly interacting atoms or molecules. This is arguably the opposite regime of biological molecules and living things, where controls over the shapes and motions are encoded into the structures themselves.

I will present our nascent efforts in extending the control over atomic and molecular motion toward the regime of stronger interactions. In particular, I will emphasize how finding reduced representations for the motion a collection of molecules, for example by identifying or defining the order parameter, enables understanding and predicting some of the counterintuitive patterns of sequential chemical reactions in molecules supported on a metal surface. On the other hand, manipulation of the known order parameters, for example in ferroelectric materials, gives rise to new properties that are difficult if not impossible to achieve by synthetic methods. This so-called topological control over manipulation may advance atomic manipulation toward synthetic methodology for realistic materials, higher energy scale of manipulation, and consequently the stability of manipulated matter.

I will also touch upon the relevant developments in scanning probe microscopy techniques, likewise, driven by the need to reduce or optimize the dimensionality of the data sets and data acquisition itself. These methods can cope with overwhelmingly heterogeneous data-sets associated with complex materials and dynamic effects and will eventually provide better control methods to guide local manipulation and microscopy itself.