Chemical physics

Chemical physics is concerned with the application of the concepts and theories of physics to the analysis of chemical systems and their physical behaviour. While also at the interface between physics and chemistry, it is distinct from physical chemistry.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) are unique tools that are making possible time-resolved measurements of structural and electronic dynamics at the quantum spatial and temporal scales. Jonathan Marangos discusses the transformative scientific potential of this capability but also stresses the importance of lowering barriers to access to maximize scientific reach.

    • Jonathan P. Marangos
  • News and Views |

    Light is often used to trigger reactions, energetically exciting the reactant(s) to kick them over the intrinsic reaction barrier. Now, however, the reaction between an excited atom and a charged molecule at very low temperatures has been shown not to adhere to this paradigm, instead undergoing a reaction blockading effect.

    • Roland Wester
    Nature Chemistry 11, 600-601
  • News and Views |

    Intersystem crossing plays a role in the mechanism of many reactive collisions between atomic species and organic molecules, and has been generally observed when the reactants are still approaching one another. Now, intersystem crossing has been observed to also occur after their initial interaction.

    • Luis Bañares
    Nature Chemistry 11, 103-104
  • News and Views |

    Magnetic or electric fields have long been used to align or orient atomic or molecular species in a molecular beam. Now, experiments in a merged beam apparatus show that an external magnetic field can be used to favour one particular reaction path.

    • Astrid Bergeat
    •  & Christian Naulin
    Nature Chemistry 10, 1177-1179
  • Research Highlights |

    The resolution of AFM images is highly sensitive to the atomic composition and structure of the tip. Harry Mönig and co-workers show that an oxygen-terminated copper tip can enable imaging at unprecedented resolution, allowing us to study molecular interactions in exquisite detail.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • News and Views |

    Tensile strain of a solid surface can result in either strengthening or weakening of bonds with adsorbates. Adsorption energies of different adsorbate/site combinations may be shifted in different directions — a striking violation of the Brønsted–Evans–Polanyi relation.

    • Jörg Weissmüller
    Nature Catalysis 1, 238-239