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University of Helsinki Faculty of Science

Laboratory of Physical Chemistry


Contact Information

Laboratory of Physical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
A.I. Virtasen aukio 1
(P.O. BOX 55)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Head of the laboratory
Prof. Lauri Halonen
Phone: +358(0)2941 50280
email: lauri.halonen

Chloé Springare
Phone: +358(0)2941 50260
email: chloe.springare


Research groups

Molecular spectroscopy and theoretical chemistry
Prof. Lauri Halonen

The research consists of experimental, theoretical and computational work. Experimental efforts are aimed at developing new laser-based methods for high resolution spectroscopy and applying these techniques in, for example, medical research. We are especially interested in improving the sensitivity of current methods used in absorption spectroscopy and developing new techniques for fluorescence spectroscopy. In the theoretical and computational field the work is concerned with applying state-of-the-art ab initio calculations to problems in both spectroscopic and surface science research. Algebraic methods are used to solve problems in forming Hamiltonians for the internal degrees of freedom of a molecule.

Solid state spectroscopy and photochemistry
Doc. Leonid Khriachtchev

The group is interested in studying the properties of molecules and their reactions in inert solid environments. Low temperatures in the range of 4 to 50 K are used and the molecular systems are probed by various spectroscopic techniques. Specific projects include solid-state synthesis of novel noble-gas containing molecules and control of molecular conformations by selective vibrational excitation. The optical properties of Si nanocrystals in SiO2 are also studied with future prospects of creating an optical memory. Computational work is used extensively to understand and analyze the experimental results.

Reaction kinetics and oxidation chemistry
Academy research fellow Arkke Eskola

The research interests of the group focus on free radical reaction kinetics and oxidation chemistry in gas-phase under low-temperature combustion and atmospheric conditions. Kinetics of free radical reactions are studied in time-resolved manner using a laminar flow reactor which is coupled to a photoionization quadrupole mass spectrometer. Radicals are produced and reactions initiated photolytically and reactions are investigated as a function of temperature and pressure. New experimental apparatus is under construction to study and produce labile oxygenated compounds which are important intermediates under low-temperature combustion and atmospheric conditions. The kinetic and oxidation chemistry data obtained using these instruments are important for modelling and understanding combustion processes and atmospheric reaction chemistry.

Computational Atmospheric Chemistry
Academy research fellow Theo Kurtén

The group studies the chemical reactions of atmospheric condensable vapors and their precursors using computational methods, with special focus on reactive sulfur- and nitrogen-containing molecules. The foundation is provided by a large variety of quantum chemical methods, from state-of-the-art multireference configuration interaction (MRCI) to density functional theory (DFT). Molecular-level reaction mechanisms and potential energy surfaces are then used as input for reaction dynamic calculations in order to obtain information on real reaction rates in the atmosphere.