The magnetism and electronic excited states of transition metal oxide clusters
The overall objective of this research project is to enhance understanding about the magnetic and electronic properties of small transition metal oxide clusters (less than 20 atoms), with emphasis on how their ground state and excited state properties evolve with cluster size and stoichiometry. Hereto, the clusters will be investigated using advanced gas-phase experimental techniques, in which size and composition can be controlled at will. On the one hand, a Stern-Gerlach magnetic deflection setup will be used to conduct experiments on the coupling of magnetic moments in neutral clusters in the ground state and long-lived excited states. On the other hand, optical absorption and decay studies of charged clusters will be performed in an ion storage ring setup, which is currently being constructed. As such, this project aids in filling the current gap of lacking experiments probing the magnetism of small transition metal oxide clusters and lacking studies on excited-state dynamics of these clusters. Complementary quantum chemical approaches, including time-dependent density functional theory (DFT), multireference wavefunction-based methods and perturbation approaches within the DFT framework, will be used for interpretation of the experimental results and for quantifying to which extend electron correlations determine the cluster’s properties. The results obtained from this project can also be relevant in astrophysics and spintronics.