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CN Reactions

The molecular reaction dynamics of CN radicals are studied in a variety of solvents.

IR pump & IR probe transient spectrum of HCN vibrational relaxation
small laserUltrafast lasers are used to probe the dynamics of reactions that occur in the challenging environment of the solution phase.

Ultrafast reaction dynamics in solution

The newest experimental strand of my research looks beyond the gas-phase to study the dynamics of solution phase reactions in 'real time' using ultrafast lasers. As part of a team from the Bristol Laser Chemistry group, I participated in a series of ground breaking condensed phase dynamics experiments conducted at the ULTRA laser facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in September 2009 and May/June 2010 (total of 5 weeks access time). A manuscript describing this work has recently been published in the journal Science (full reference below) along with a perspective article from Prof. Stephen Bradforth, see also the comment in Nature Chemistry from F. Flemming Crim, press releases from the STFC and Bristol University. A more in depth exploration of this work has been published in the Journal of Chemical Physics here and has been chosen as one of their research highlights, which can be found here.

Science Front cover

Science report and front cover:

Vibrationally quantum-state-specific reaction dynamics of H atom abstraction by CN radical in solution.

S.J. Greaves, R.A. Rose, T.A.A. Oliver, D.R. Glowacki, M.N.R. Ashfold, J.N. Harvey, I.P. Clark, G.M. Greetham, A.W. Parker, M. Towrie and A.J. Orr-Ewing,

Science, 331 1423–1426, (2011).


  1. Vibrationally resolved dynamics of the reaction of Cl atoms with 2,3-dimethylbut-2-ene in chlorinated solvents.

    Fawzi Abou-Chahine, Stuart J. Greaves, Greg T. Dunning, Andrew J. Orr-Ewing, Gregory M. Greetham, Ian P. Clark and Michael Towrie,

    Chemical Science, 4 226–237, (2013).


  2. Reaction dynamics of CN radicals with tetrahydrofuran in liquid solutions.

    R.A. Rose, S.J. Greaves, F. Abou-Chahine, D.R. Glowacki, T.A.A. Oliver, M.N.R. Ashfold, I.P. Clark, G.M. Greetham, M. Towrie and A.J. Orr-Ewing,

    Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 14 10424–10437, (2012).


  3. Ultrafast energy flow in the wake of solution-phase bimolecular reactions.

    David R. Glowacki, Rebecca A. Rose, Stuart J. Greaves, Andrew J. Orr-Ewing, and Jeremy N. Harvey,

    Nature Chemistry, 3 850–855, (2011).


  4. Vibrationally quantum-state-specific dynamics of the reactions of CN radicals with organic molecules in solution.

    R.A. Rose, S.J. Greaves, T.A.A. Oliver, I.P. Clark, G.M. Greetham, A.W. Parker, M. Towrie, and A.J. Orr-Ewing,

    J. Chem. Phys., 134 244503, (2011).

    doi: 10.1063/1.3603966 JCP Editor's Choice

  5. Chemical reaction dynamics in liquid solutions.

    A.J. Orr-Ewing, D.R. Glowacki, S.J. Greaves and R.A. Rose,

    J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2 1139–1144, (2011).

    doi: 10.1021/jz2002716