Watching molecules move


Velocity-Mapped Ion Imaging hits 30 years of research at SandiaBy Michael PadillaThirty years ago, David Chandler (8300) built an apparatus at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility to image the fragments of a molecule as it fell apart. At the time, David had no idea what a tremendous impact his research would have on understanding how molecules behave when excited by light or struck by another molecule or atom.Since its first description in a 1987 publication coauthored by David and his collaborator, Prof. Paul Houston, this breakthrough research — first called photo-fragment imaging and now called, as the technique has evolved, velocity-mapped ion imaging (VMI) — has been referenced in almost 2,000 peer-reviewed, scientific articles. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the VMI technique, the Journal of Chemical Physics has devoted a special issue in 2017 to VMI and has invited three guest editors: David, Houston, and Prof. David Parker of Radboud University.