Spin in life and surfaces



The role of electron spin has endlessly fascinated scientists for decades, ever since its discovery in 1921 by Otto Stern and Walter Gerlach in their landmark experiment (it was not actually explained until 1927 after the work of Wolfgang Pauli as well as George Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit. The nature of a material’s “spin” has fascinated me for a long time, but this has recently increased as a result of many stimulating discussions with Bill Rutherford, a colleague in the Department of Life Science at Imperial. This has led to the group performing a series of experiments to probe the electronic structure and spin-states of biological materials through to understanding how surfaces of materials (oxides and metals) use spin to promote or suppress chemical reactions (e.g. spin catalysis). This is very much early stage and ongoing work – that I feel will take many years to truly have an impact, but it is exciting and cross-disciplinary (we are having to understand many biological definitions!). Most of all it is fun. If what I have written interests you, please do contact me to discuss it further. I’m looking for individuals to join the group (at PhD, Masters, summer students level) to explore this fascinating area with us. Also below you will find a link to an interesting review (written by A. L. Buchachenko, and V. L. Berdinsky in the mid-1990’s). It gives a fascinating insight into the possibilities of this research area.

A. L. Buchachenko, and V. L. Berdinsky, Spin Catalysis of Chemical Reactions, J. Phys. Chem., 100, 18292–18299 (1996).