Michael T. Bowers
Tel: 805-893-2893
E-mail: bowers@chem.ucsb.edu

Prof. Bowers obtained his B.S. from Gonzaga University and his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Illinois. After two years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Laboratory he joined the UC Santa Barbara faculty in 1968. His Awards include: Nobel Laureate Signature Award of the American Chemical Society (1988).

Our research is centered on determination of the structure and/or reaction dynamics and mechanism of a number of exotic species in the gas phase. These studies all utilize state-of-the-art ion beam technologies and methodologies, most of which were developed in our lab. The work is a blend of experiment and theory. We bring a chemical physics outlook to problems of broad chemical interest. Some examples follow:

Ion Chromatography (IC)
This new technique was developed in our lab. By accurately measuring the time for a mass selected species to drift through a cell containing He gas, collision cross sections can be determined. Theoretical modeling of these cross-sections allows determination of probable three-dimensional structures, even for complex molecules. At present we are developing several new ion sources to increase the kinds of systems we can study. This powerful method is being applied to the types of problem given below.

Structures of Metallic, Semiconductor, and Mixed Clusters
Laser desorption sources can readily generate intense beams of many interesting species. Except in rare cases, however, these species are very reactive and hence can't be easily isolated in bulk for structural studies. Using IC we've been able to isolate and determine unambiguous structures for many species, including carbon clusters (Cn) from n = 5 to 80 for both cations and anions. These studies allowed determination of the intrinsic structural growth pattern of carbon in this size range (linear to planar rings to fullerenes), and the mechanism for formation of C60 and other fullerenes. Work is continuing on mixed metal/carbon composites as well as other systems.