Dissociation of CS2+ Molecule in Intense Laser Field

        by Michael Hastings

        Supervisors:  Dr. itzik ben-itzhak and Travis Severt

Kansas State University Physics Department  REU Program


This program is funded by the National Science Foundation through grant number PHY-1157044.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Welcome to my webpage.  This page summarizes my experience doing research for the Summer 2014 in the James R. McDonald Lab at Kansas State University.  I am investigating the interactions of matter in strong laser fields.

Below, I describe the Project Overview, and will eventually post my Final Presentation and Final Report.  Scroll all the way down to learn more About Me.  Finally, I've included some Useful Links

Project Overview:  In the James R. McDonald (JRM) Lab at Kansas State University there is research going on about interaction of matter in strong laser fields. I had the privilege of investigating the dissociation of a CS2+ molecule. The way I went about doing this is utilizing some of the ultrafast lasers in the JRM Lab and an Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) apparatus. An ultrafast laser is a laser that can fire very short pulses, for our purposes we used anywhere from 5 to 50 femtoseconds, that is 5x10-15 to 50x10-15 seconds, that is really fast. An ECR is the part of the setup that allows us to make an ion beam that we can fire the laser at. If you would like to learn more about the experimental setup read my final report/presentation. Some applications for understanding the way matter interacts with strong laser fields are: medicine, laser surgery in particular, materials science, material cutting, telecommunications, nanotechnology, chemistry, and biology.

Now on to what I was studying. When a CS2+ molecule dissociates it breaks into two fragments, a C+ ion and an S+ ion. These ions fly away from each other at a 180 degree angle as to conserve momentum. After the fragments break apart they fly towards a detector where position and time measurements are made. From these measurements we can figure out how the fragments broke apart. This allows us to better understand the dynamics of the dissociation. If you remember some of you high school chemistry course, you can relate the process to electron orbitals, s, p, d, etc., the way the molecule dissociates is a transition from one state, or orbital, to another, ex. s to p or s to s transitions.

Research Description:  To see a full description of my project see my Final Report or Final Presentation coming soon…

Note: Due to the highly sensitive information in my report and presentation I was advised to not put it up here. A paper is currently in progress by a graduate student I worked with and once it is published I can post my final results.

About Me:   I grew up in Lake Arrowhead, Califonia, and attend College at Northern Arizona University in the beautiful mountains of Flagstaff.  I first got interested in physics when I was in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and got to shoot model rockets off. I earned the honor of Eagle Scout in the BSA.  I like to pass the time by going rock climbing and mountain biking.

Useful Links: 

When I'm not doing research, I like to surf the web.  Check out these useful sites:

American Physical Society Statements on Ethics

American Institute of Physics