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Department of Chemistry




Professor Gerard Meijer

Fritz-Haber Institute of the MPG, Berlin


Prof. Gerard Meijer an extremely innovative scientist who has invented an entire subfield in which molecules are studied at temperatures less than 1 degree above absolute zero. He has also made pioneering contributions in several other areas. He has worked on the high-resolution electronic spectroscopy of small gas-phase radicals, and on imaging of density and temperature distributions of such species in combustion processes. He was involved in the early development of laser desorption to bring thermally labile (bio-) molecules intact into the gas phase for spectroscopic studies. In the early nineties, he was involved in the first optical, NMR and STM characterization of fullerene molecules and crystals. He has developed a variety of sensitive laser-based detection schemes for gas-phase molecules, most notably variants of the cavity ring-down method. He pioneered the use of infrared free-electron lasers for the structural characterization of gas-phase clusters, nanocrystals, and bio-molecules.

Prof. Meijer's ground-breaking contribution in the field of cold molecules was the development of the Stark decelerator, which slows samples of molecules from ordinary molecular beam speeds almost to rest (1999). This method is now in use in laboratories around the world. Since then, Prof. Meijer's research group has developed an amazing range of novel techniques using cold molecules: they have trapped cold molecules electrostatically (2000), developed a molecular storage ring (2001), an alternating gradient decelerator (2002), an AC electric trap (2005), and, most recently, a molecular analogue of the synchrotrons used for charged particles (2007).

Prof. Meijer is one of the most innovative scientists of his generation, who has created a field of research and remains its leading exponent.


Tuesday 12th May 2009,11.30, D110

"Cold Molecules"  - A general public lecture


Wednesday 13th May, 16.15, CG60

“A Molecular Laboratory on a Chip”


Thursday 14th May, 11.30, CG60

  “Infrared Spectroscopic Characterization of Gas-phase Clusters and Cluster-adsorbate Complexes”

Durham Lecturers

  • 2018 
    Prof. Nicola Spaldin
  • 2017 
    Prof. Marsha I. Lester
  • 2016
    Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
  • 2015
    Prof. James M. Tour
  • 2014
    Prof. David J. Nesbitt 
  • 2013
    Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger
  • 2012
    Prof. John F. Hartwig
  • 2011
    Prof. Jacob Israelachvili
  • 2010
    Prof. Daniel G. Nocera
  • 2009
    Prof. Gerard Meijer
  • 2008
    Prof. Christian Amatore
  • 2007
    Prof. Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
  • 2006
    Prof. Bob Grubbs