Prof. Rainer Beck

In our laboratory, we study the elementary steps of chemical reactions between gas-phase molecules and solid surfaces such as the chemisorption of methane on a nickel catalyst. We use molecular beams and laser radiation to probe the reaction process at a molecular level by performing quantum state resolved reactivity measurements.

We also perform state-to-state molecule/surface scattering experiments, where the quantum state of the molecule incident on a solid surface is prepared by infrared laser excitation and the ro-vibrational quantum state distribution of the scattered molecules is analysed by the BILT detection method developed recently in our laboratory, which consists of a combination of bolometric detection and state specific infrared laser tagging.

The results of our highly detailed measurements provide stringent tests for theoretical models of gas-surface chemistry which is of importance for many industrial and technological processes. We collaborate with several theory groups with the aim to develop a predictive understanding of molecule/surface reactions.

I teach Chimie Générale for first year students in medicine at UNIL.



Professor titulaire EPFL, 2006
Privat Docent EPFL, 1997
Habilitation and venia legendi, Universität Karlsruhe, 1996
Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Oregon State University, 1990
Degree in Physics, Universität Stuttgart, 1985