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Professor Gil Alexandrowicz

Professor Gil Alexandrowicz

Professor, Chemistry

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Available For Postgraduate Supervision


I studied physics (BSc and MSc Hebrew University, PhD – University of Cambridge) and spent most of my career performing research on the interface between chemistry and physics, studying surface dynamics and gas-surface interactions. A common aspect to the work of my research group, is focussing on research questions which are impossible to study using existing scientific technology, but can be addressed by designing, building and applying new experimental techniques

Areas Of Expertise

  • Atomic and molecular beams
  • Surface dynamics
  • Surface diffusion
  • Molecule-surface collisions

Career Highlights

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Controlling molecular rotations. When a molecule collides with a surface, various outcomes are possible, in particular it can scatter back into the gas phase, stick to the surface or dissociate upon impact. Understanding these processes is crucial for surface chemistry in general and heterogenous catalysis in particular. One of the properties which affects the outcome of the collision is the rotational projection state of the molecule (corresponding to the direction of the plane of rotation of the molecule with respect to the surface). This quantum property could not be controlled or measured for most molecules. Our group has developed a new experimental technique which is capable of controlling and measuring the rotation of ground state hydrogen molecules, providing new insight into the interaction of molecules with surfaces. Read more about the new experimental technique and how it can be used to study a molecule-surface collision.  

Separation of Ortho and Para H2O. Water molecules exist as two different spin-isomers differing by their nuclear spin states, this is similar to the well-known case of ortho and para molecular hydrogen. Unlike hydrogen, Ortho and Para H2O were impossible to separate leading to a limited knowledge and no applications which can exploit their different physical properties. Using a magnetic separation approach we managed to separate the two isomers, producing a highly purified molecular beam of Ortho-H2O. Our group is actively pursuing new applications which make use of this technical breakthrough.

Award Highlights