Author Archives: albertolesarri

IYPT Exhibition

Prof. Javier García Martinez, Vicepresident of IUPAC 2020-22 gave a talk at the Faculty of Sciences last October 15, 2019, with the title “What is the IUPAC doing for you?“. The visit celebrated the new Exhibition on the Periodic Table organized in collaboration between the Spanish Society of Chemistry and the Faculty of Sciences. The exhibition includes all kind of periodic tables in different sizes and formats, together with an exhibition of books and bibliographic material at the Campus Library.

Prof. Javier García Martínez talks to the Faculty of Sciences.

One of the Periodic Tables in exhibition at the Faculty of Sciences.

Non-covalent interactions

We published in Chemistry: A European Journal a Minireview on rotational studies of non-covalent interactions, which appeared in the Reviews Showcase section of the Journal. In the article, entitled “The Hydrogen Bond and Beyond: Perspectives for Rotational Investigations of Non‐Covalent Interactions“, we emphasize how the new broadband microwave techniques have boosted the possibilities for analyzing larger clusters and weaker interactions with rotational resolution.

The forest of non-covalent interactions has more trees than expected. Read the minireview to check out why.

Coherent rotational dynamics

Category : General News

The group of Prof. Jochen Küpper at DESY & Uni. Hamburg have reported in Nature Communications the observation of the laser-induced rotational dynamics of OCS, or, in simple words, a “movie” of OCS rotating in the ps-scale time. In this experiment a rotational wavepacket is created on a molecular beam of OCS using two laser pulses. The beam is later probed with a third laser.

A cut of 18 picoseconds of the molecular movie of the OCS rotation (Credit: Nat. Comm. 10, 3364 (1019), Open Access under a CCA license)

A word of caution: Remember that molecular rotation is different to the rotation of a macroscopic stick, as microscopic objects are described by quantum mechanics.

Summer conferences

Our group participated in several conferences this Summer. Marcos Juanes attended the 74 International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS) at the University of Illinois last June 17-21, presenting three oral talks. Alberto Lesarri gave oral talks at the 18 European Symposium on Gas-Phase Electron Diffraction (ESGED18) in Hirschegg (Austria), the Iberian Joint Meeting on Atomic and Molecular Physics (IBER2019) in Évora (Portugal) and the XXXVII Biannual Meeting of the Spanish Physics Society (Bienal Física 2019) in Zaragoza (Spain).

In the picture above Alberto talks at the IBER2019 in Portugal

The IBER2019 conference is the biannual meeting of the Portuguese (SPF) and Spanish (RSEF) Physics Society. The event is coorganized by the SPF and the Division of Atomic and Molecular Physics (GEFAM) of the RSEF. This year the event remembered the GEFAM founder Prof. Gerardo Delgado-Barrio (CSIC), who passed away in 2018.

New SI

Last May 20, 2019 became effective the redefinition of the International System of Units (SI). In the new definition the kilogram (kg), kelvin (K) and mol are defined using numerical values of the Planck constant (h), the Boltzmann constant (kB) and the Avogadro constant (NA), respectively. A SI brochure is available from the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures. Farewell to the venerable kg prototype made of Pt/Ir.

In the picture above the new SI (graphic by Emilio Pisanti in wikipedia).


The Faculty of Sciences of the UVa has dedicated a Periodic Table wall poster featuring the spectra of the atomic elements, to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT). This Periodic Table is a reproduction of the original work “Homage to the Elements” by visual artist Eugenia Balcells and contains a quote by Lucretius in “De rerum natura” (On the Nature of Things), written around 50BC, describing the atoms as “letters within words“.

The IYPT (and our barbaric times) are a good opportunity to read the 2012 Pulitzer winner “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt, which contains a great presentation of the discovery of the book and the Epicurean Physics, which, even in a literary format, are far more reasonable than the opinions that arose in the 1500 years that followed its publication:

… atoms … are driven abroad and vexed
by blow on blow, even from all time of old,
they thus at last, after attempting all
the kinds of motion and conjoining, come
into those great arrangements out of which
this sum of things established is created

Black hole imaging

Category : Cosmology General News

A radiotelescope array with instruments around the planet, including the Spanish participation in IRAM, produced an image of a black hole event horizon, as announced last April 10, 2019. The result comes after a decade long effort and new developments in millimeter-wave technology (230-450 GHz).

The position of the telescopes participating in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA).
The published image of the black hole at the center of Messier 87.

Project meeting

Category : Group News University

The team of our national project, including researchers from the Universities of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), La Rioja (UR) and Valladolid (UVa) met in Logrono last January 18 to follow the research results. A new project for the period 2019-21 has been proposed.

In the picture, from left to right: Marcos Juanes, Iker Lamas, Rizalina T. Saragi, Ander Camiruaga, Judith Millán, José A. Fernández, Alberto Lesarri, Rodrigo Martínez and Asier Longarte.

CPC cover

An investigation on diphenyl disulfide has been highlighted in the cover of CPC. This collaboration with Jean Demaison and Natalja Vogt uses a combination of supersonic jet experimental data and high-level ab initio calculations for the precise determination of the equilibrium molecular structure. The cover features the biologically and industrially important disulfide bridge.

Jon T. Hougen

Category : General News

Jon T. Hougen passed away last January 28, 2018. A former senior researcher at NIST and Editor of Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, he was one of the best known international figures in the field of high-resolution spectroscopy and a permanent presence in international conferences worldwide. He will be remembered by his multiple contributions, including the treatment of large-amplitude motions and the development of permutation-inversion group theory. Two volumes of Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy were dedicated to him in 2017, on the ocassion of his 80th anniversary. Despite his official retirement in 2009 he never stopped contributing with new science. You can enjoy a video of Jon at the 60th ISMS Conference.

Jon Hougen in a characteristic pose in one of his last Conferences last September 4, 2018 at the 25th HighResolution Molecular Spectroscopy meeting in Bilbao, Spain (Per Jensen appears at his right).