School of Chemistry

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Ben Whitaker

Professor of Chemical Physics
Member of the Computational Chemistry and Chemical Physics group

Contact details

Room: 2.87
Tel: +44 (0)113 3436580
Email: B.J.Whitaker@leeds.ac.uk

Keywords

Molecular Reaction Dynamics
Velocity Map and DC Slice Imaging
Quantum Coherent Control and Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy
Time-Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy


Photograph of Ben Whitaker

Research interests

The main focus of our research is the study of elementary reaction mechanism at the quantum resolved level (molecular reaction dynamics). We use, and have developed, a number of experimental techniques in both the frequency and time domain; particularly through the application of velocity map imaging (VMI). In the frequency domain, we use nanosecond lasers to study photofragment product state distributions through a combination of spectroscopy, e.g. resonant multiphoton ionization (REMPI), and ion imaging. In the time domain, we use pump-probe techniques with femtosecond lasers and photoelectron/photoion imaging to study internal energy conversion in molecules. As an example of the applications of this work, we are currently funded by the EPSRC to apply VMI to measure the bond dissociation energy of HO3. This species has recently been proposed to act as a sink for OH radicals in the stratosphere, but this can only be true if the dissociation energy is significantly greater than 10 kJ mol-1, and current theory and experiment disagree (by a factor of 2) over the value.

As we begin to understand more about the details of fundamental chemical processes we begin to understand how we might control them at the quantum level. We are working with acousto-optical programmable dispersive filters (AOPDFs) to modulate the spectral phase and amplitude of ultrashort pulses of light so as to implement coherent control schemes for chemical reactivity. We use genetic algorithms and other evolutionary computational methods to "teach" the modulator how to acheive a particular chemical outcome with a shaped pulse of light. This in turn leads us to an interest in other applications of evolutionary computing, particularly in nanoscience and molecular electronics.

Our research group is a member of the ICONIC Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Union. ICONIC is an acronym for Imaging and CONtrol In Chemistry and the network aims to provide scientific training of young researchers through collaboration and exchange between 11 academic and 4 industrial partners.

Useful links

Bibliography   
Research Opportunities   
PICNIC   
EPSRC grant report

Publications

Kraatz IT; Booth M; Whitaker BJ; Nix MGD; Critchley K Sub-bandgap emission and intraband defect-related excited-state dynamics in colloidal CuInS2/ZnS quantum dots revealed by femtosecond pump-dump-probe spectroscopy Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118 24102-24109, 2014
DOI:10.1021/jp5065374
View abstract

Jones KM; Milkiewicz JA; Whitaker JBC; Sage AG; Worth GA Photodissociation of ClNO in the 2 1A' state: computational and experimental NO product state distributions. Chemphyschem 14 1479-1487, 2013
DOI:10.1002/cphc.201200999
View abstract

Tate DJ; Anemian R; Bushby RJ; Nanan S; Warriner SL; Whitaker BJ Improved syntheses of high hole mobility phthalocyanines: A case of steric assistance in the cyclo-oligomerisation of phthalonitriles BEILSTEIN JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 8 120-128, 2012
DOI:10.3762/bjoc.8.14

Whitaker BJ Chemistry. Shining light on diabolic points. Science 334 187-188, 2011
DOI:10.1126/science.1212327

Wikinson I; Gacia IA; Whitaker BJ; Hamard JB; Blanchet V The photodissociation of NO2 by visible and ultraviolet light Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12 15766-15779, 2010
DOI:10.1039/C0CP01551B
View abstract

Hamard JB; Cireasa R; Chatel B; Blanchet V; Whitaker BJ Quantum Interference in NO2 JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY A 114 3167-3175, 2010
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Wilkinson I; de Miranda MP; Whitaker BJ Photodissociation of NO2 in the (2) B-2(2) state: The O(D-1(2)) dissociation channel JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS 131 -, 2009
View abstract

Taylor AF; Kapetanopoulos P; Whitaker BJ; Toth R; Bull L; Tinsley R Phase clustering in globally coupled photochemical oscillators, 2008
DOI:10.1140/epjst/e2008-00857-9

Taylor AF; Kapetanopoulos P; Whitaker BJ; Toth R; Bull L; Tinsley MR Clusters and switchers in globally coupled photochemical oscillators Physical Review Letters 100 pp.214101-, 2008

Blanchet V; Raffael K; Turri G; Chatel B; Girard B; Anton Garcia I; Wilkinson I; Whitaker BJ Time-dependent photoionization of azulene: Competition between ionization and relaxation in highly excited states Journal of Chemical Physics 128 pp.164318-, 2008

Form NT; Whitaker BJ; Meier C Enhancing the probablility of three-photon absorption in iodine through pulse shaping Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 41 pp.074011-, 2008

Form NT; Burbidge R; Ramon J; Whitaker BJ Parameterization of an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter for closed-loop learning experiments Journal of Modern Optics 55 197-209, 2008

Wilkinson I; Whitaker BJ Photodissociation of NO2 in the (2)B-2(2) state: A slice imaging study and reinterpretation of previous results JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS 129 -, 2008
DOI:10.1063/1.2994735
View abstract

Raffael K; Blanchet V; Chatel B; Turri G; Girard B; Garcia IA; Wilkinson I; Whitaker JBC Time-dependent photoionization of azulene: Optically induced anistropy on the femtosecond scale CHEMICAL PHYSICS LETTERS 460 59-63, 2008
DOI:10.1016/j.cplett.2008.06.009
View abstract

Taylor AF; Kapetanopoulos P; Whitaker BJ; Toth R; Bull L; Tinsley MR Phase clustering in globally coupled photochemical oscillators European Physical Journal Special Topics 165 137-, 2008

Burbidge R; Rowland JJ; King RD; Form NT; Whitaker BJ Evolutionary optimization of three-photon absorption in molecular iodine, 2007

Cronin L; Krasnogor N; Davis BG; Alexander C; Robertson N; Steinke JHG; Schroeder SLM; Khlobystov AN; Cooper G; Gardner P; Siepmann P; Whitaker JBC; Marsh D The imitation game - a computational chemical approach to recognizing life Nature Biotechnology 24 1203-1206, 2006

Barman A; Form NT; Whitaker JBC Phase manipulation of continuum generation and stimulated Raman scattering in ethanol Chemical Physics Letters 427 317-321, 2006
DOI:10.1016/j.cplett.2006.07.006

Iino H; Hanna JI; Bushby RJ; Movaghar B; Whitaker JBC Hopping conduction in the columnar liquid crystal phase of a dipolar discogen Journal of Applied Physics 100 pp.043716-, 2006
DOI:10.1063/1.2219692

Form NT; Whitaker JBC; Poisson L; Soep B Time-resolved photoion and photoelectron imaging of NO2 Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics: a journal of European Chemical Societies 8 2925-2932, 2006
DOI:10.1039/b602825j

Coroiu AM; Parker DH; Groenenboom GC; Barr J; Novalbos IT; Whitaker BJ Photolysis of NO2 at multiple wavelengths in the spectral region 200-205 nm - A velocity map imaging study EUR PHYS J D 38 151-162, 2006
View abstract

Monmayrant A; Arbouet A; Girard B; Barman BC; Whitaker BJ; Kaplan D Optimisation of NOPA output pulse shaping using an AOPDF with dispersion self-correction, 2006
View abstract

Form NT; Whitaker JBC Quantum Cartography: Mapping the Control Landscape In Coherent Control of Molecules , 2006

Lino H; Hanna J; Bushby RJ; Movaghar B; Whitaker JBC; Cook MJ Very high time-of-flight mobility in the columnar phases of a discotic liquid crystal Applied Physics Letters 87 pp.132102-, 2005
DOI:10.1063/1.2056608

Monmayrant A; Arbouet A; Girard B; Chatel B; Barman A; Whitaker JBC; Kaplan D AOPDF-shaped optical parametric amplifier output in the visible Applied Physics. B: Lasers and Optics 81 177-180, 2005
DOI:10.1007/s00340-005-1890-6

Monmayrant A; Arbouet A; Girard B; Chatel B; Barman A; Whitaker BJ; Kaplan D Optimisation of NOPA output pulse shaping using an AOPDF with dispersion self-correction, 2005

Monmayrant A; Arbouet A; Girard B; Barman BC; Whitaker BJ; Kaplan D Optimisation of NOPA output pulse shaping using an AOPDF with dispersion self-correction, 2005
View abstract

Monmayrant A; Arbouet A; Girard B; Chatel B; Barman A; Whitaker BJ; Kaplan D Optimisation of NOPA output pulse shaping using an AOPDF with dispersion self-correction Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe - Technical Digest -, 2005
DOI:10.1109/CLEOE.2005.1568158
View abstract

Eppink A; Whitaker JBC; Gloaguen E; Soep B; Coroiu MA; Parker DH Dissociative multiphoton ionization of NO2studied by time-resolved imaging Journal of Chemical Physics 121 7776-7783, 2004
DOI:10.1063/1.1795654

Tsubouchi M; Whitaker JBC; Suzuki T Femtosecond photoelectron imaging on pyrazine: S-1 ->T-1 intersystem crossing and rotational coherence transfer Journal of Physical Chemistry A 108 6823-6835, 2004
DOI:10.1021/jp0484985

Reid GD; Whittaker DJ; Roth W; Whitaker JBC; Williamson MJI; Beddard GS Excited state dynamics and rapid internal conversion in a stable dipole molecule Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 2 585-590, 2003
DOI:10.1039/b301728a

Suzuki T; Whitaker JBC Photoelectron and photoion imaging with femtosecond pump-probe clocking In Imaging in Molecular Dynamics: Technology and Applications , 2003

Whitaker JBC Imaging in Molecular Dynamics: Technology and Applications, 2003

Eppink A; Wu SM; Whitaker JBC Reconstruction Methods In Imaging in Molecular Dynamics: technology and Applications , 2003
View abstract

Griffiths JF; Whitaker JBC Thermokinetic interactions leading to knock during homogeneous charge compression ignition Combustion and Flame 131 386-399, 2002
DOI:10.1016/S0010-2180(02)00417-0

Griffiths JF; MacNamara JP; Sheppard CGW; Turton DA; Whitaker BJ The relationship of knock during controlled autoignition to temperature inhomogeneities and fuel reactivity FUEL 81 2219-2225, 2002

Liu XM; McAllister JA; de Miranda MP; Whitaker BJ; Kilner CA; Thornton-Pett M; Halcrow MA Supramolecular templating of the double-cubane [{Cu-3(Hpz(tBu))(6)(mu(3)-Cl)(mu(3)-OH)(3)}(2)Cu]Cl-6 (Hpz(tBu)=5-tert-butylpyrazole) ANGEW CHEM INT EDIT 41 756-+, 2002

Griffiths JF; Macnamara J; Sheppard CGW; Turton D; Whitaker JBC The relationship of knock during controlled autoignition to temperature inhomogeneities and fuel reactivity Fuel 81 2219-2225, 2002
DOI:10.1016/S0016-2361(02)00134-5

Suzuki T; Whitaker JBC Non-adiabatic effects in chemistry revealed by time-resolved charged-particle imaging International Reviews in Physical Chemistry 20 313-356, 2001
DOI:10.1080/01442350110045046

Tsubouchi M; Whitaker JBC; Wang L; Kohguchi H; Suzuki T Photoelectron Imaging on Time-Dependent Molecular Alignment Created by a Femtosecond Laser Pulse Physical Review Letters 86 4500-4503, 2001
DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.4500

Griffiths JF; MacNamara JP; Mohamed C; Whitaker BJ; Pan JF; Sheppard CGW Temperature fields during the development of autoignition in a rapid compression machine FARADAY DISCUSSIONS 119 287-303, 2001

Clarkson J; Griffiths JF; Macnamara J; Whitaker JBC Temperature fields during the development of combustion in a rapid compression machine Combustion and Flame 125 1162-1175, 2001
DOI:10.1016/S0010-2180(01)00236-X

Whitaker JBC Image reconstruction: The Abel transform In Imaging and Chemical Dynamics , 2001

Delve PA; Whitaker JBC A simple model to describe thermal grating effects in degenerate four wave mixing spectroscopy Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics: a journal of European Chemical Societies 2 5594-5601, 2000

Andrews D; Beddard GS; Whitaker JBC Charge transfer formation and geometry of the naphthalene trimethylamine van der Waals complex Journal of Physical Chemistry B 104 7785-7792, 2000

Delve PA; Whitaker JBC Saturation and lifetime effects on degenerate four wave mixing spectroscopy Journal of Chemical Physics 110 4445-4456, 1999

Cooper MJ; Jackson PJ; Rogers LJ; Orr-Ewing AJ; Whitaker JBC Ion imaging studies of the Cl(2PJ) and Br (2PJ) atomic products resulting from BrCl photodissociation in the wavelength range 235-540 nm Journal of Chemical Physics 109 4367-4377, 1998

Rzepa HS; Murray-Rust P; Whitaker JBC The application of chemical Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (chemical MIME) Internet standards to electronic mail and World Wide Web information exchange Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences 38 976-982, 1998

Creasey DJ; Halford-Maw PA; Heard DE; Pilling MJ; Whitaker JBC Implementation and initial deployment of a field instrument for measurement of OH and HO2in the troposphere by laser-induced fluorescence Faraday Transactions 93 2907-2913, 1997

Wilkinson I; Whitaker BJ Some remarks on the photodynamics of NO2 Annual Reports on the Progress of Chemistry - Section C 106 274-304,
DOI:10.1039/b924653n