Prof. Tony Hansson

Tony Hansson


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Works at Department of Physics
Telephone 08-120 765 09
Visiting address Roslagstullsbacken 21
Room P 434
Postal address Fysikum 106 91 Stockholm

About me

  • Professor of Molecular Chemical Physics
  • Manager of the Research Division of Chemical Physics
  • Assistant Director of Studies with Special Responsibility for Teacher Education
  • Member of the Faculty of Science Teacher Education Board


Colloquium course in Physics (Research Education Level)


Ultrafast laser spectroscopy/matter interaction

Reaction dynamics

We investigate the dynamics of fundamental atomic and molecular processes and the interaction of intense laser pulses and molecules in the gas phase and at surfaces with various spectrocopic methods, such as femtosecond time and energy resolved photoelectron and photoion coincidence spectroscopy and surface sensitive sum frequency generation.

Read more here.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Oliver Schalk (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 152 (6)

    The influence of ring-puckering on the light-induced ring-opening dynamics of heterocyclic compounds was studied on the sample 5-membered ring molecules gamma-valerolactone and 5H-furan-2-one using time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. In gamma-valerolactone, ring-puckering is not a viable relaxation channel and the only available reaction pathway is ring-opening, which occurs within one vibrational period along the C-O bond. In 5H-furan-2-one, the C = C double bond in the ring allows for ring-puckering which slows down the ring-opening process by about 150 fs while only marginally reducing its quantum yield. This demonstrates that ring-puckering is an ultrafast process, which is directly accessible upon excitation and which spreads the excited state wave packet quickly enough to influence even the outcome of an otherwise expectedly direct ring-opening reaction.

  • 2020. Ting Geng (et al.). The Journal of Physical Chemistry A
  • Kess Marks (et al.).
  • 2019. Kess Marks (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 150 (24)

    The temperature dependent dehydrogenation of naphthalene on Ni(111) has been investigated using vibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, and density functional theory with the aim of discerning the reaction mechanism and the intermediates on the surface. At 110 K, multiple layers of naphthalene adsorb on Ni(111); the first layer is a flat lying chemisorbed monolayer, whereas the next layer(s) consist of physisorbed naphthalene. The aromaticity of the carbon rings in the first layer is reduced due to bonding to the surface Ni-atoms. Heating at 200 K causes desorption of the multilayers. At 360 K, the chemisorbed naphthalene monolayer starts dehydrogenating and the geometry of the molecules changes as the dehydrogenated carbon atoms coordinate to the nickel surface; thus, the molecule tilts with respect to the surface, recovering some of its original aromaticity. This effect peaks at 400 K and coincides with hydrogen desorption. Increasing the temperature leads to further dehydrogenation and production of H-2 gas, as well as the formation of carbidic and graphitic surface carbon. Published under license by AIP Publishing.

  • 2018. Oliver Schalk (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 149 (8)

    One important relaxation pathway for photo-excited five-membered heterocyclic organic molecules is ring-opening via a dissociative pi sigma* state. In this study, we investigate the influence of this pathway in furan and several hydrogenated and methylated derivatives by combining time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy with time-dependent density functional theory and coupled cluster calculations. We find strong experimental evidence that the ring-opening channel is the major relaxation channel in furan, 2,3-dihydrofuran, and 2-methylfuran (2-MF). In 2,5-dimethylfuran (25-DMF), however, we observe that the molecules relax either via a pi 3s Rydberg state or through a direct return to the ground state by undergoing ring-puckering motions. From the supporting calculations, for 2-MF and 25-DMF, we predict that there is strong mixing between the pi sigma* state and the pi 3s Rydberg state along the ring opening pathway. However, in 25-DMF, no crossing between the pi sigma*/pi 3s state and the initially excited pi pi* state can be found along the ring opening coordinate, effectively blocking this channel.

  • 2017. Ting Geng (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 146 (14)

    The involvement of intermediate Rydberg states in the relaxation dynamics of small organic molecules which, after excitation to the valence manifold, also return to the valence manifold is rarely observed. We report here that such a transiently populated Rydberg state may offer the possibility to modify the outcome of a photochemical reaction. In a time resolved photoelectron study on pyrrole and its methylated derivatives, N-methyl pyrrole and 2,5-dimethyl pyrrole, 6.2 eV photons (200 nm) are used to excite these molecules into a bright pi pi* state. In each case, a pi 3p-Rydberg state, either the B-1(pi 3p(y)) or the A(2)(pi 3p(z)) state, is populated within 20-50 fs after excitation. The wavepacket then proceeds to the lower lying A(2)(pi sigma*) state within a further 20 fs, at which point two competing reaction channels can be accessed: prompt N-H (N-CH3) bond cleavage or return to the ground state via a conical intersection accessed after ring puckering, the latter of which is predicted to require an additional 100-160 fs depending on the molecule.

  • 2017. Sven Oesterling (et al.). Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics - PCCP 19, 2025-2035

    For the series furan, furfural and β-furfural we investigated the effect of substituents and their positioning on the photoinduced relaxation dynamics in a combined theoretical and experimental approach. Using time resolved photoelectron spectroscopy with a high intensity probe pulse, we can, for the first time, follow the whole deactivation process of furan through a two photon probe signal. Using the extended 2-electron 2-orbital model [Nenov et al., J. Chem. Phys., 2011, 135, 034304] we explain the formation of one central conical intersection and predict the influence of the aldehyde group of the derivatives on its geometry. This, as well as the relaxation mechanisms from photoexcitation to the final outcome was investigated using a variety of theoretical methods. Complete active space self consistent field was used for on-the-fly calculations while complete active space perturbation theory and coupled cluster theory were used to accurately describe critical configurations. Experiment and theory show the relaxation dynamics of furfural and β-furfural to be slowed down, and together they disclose an additional deactivation pathway, which is attributed to the nO lonepair state introduced with the aldehyde group.

  • 2017. Milad Ghadami Yazdi (et al.). The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 121 (40), 22199-22207

    An attractive solution to mitigate tars and also to decompose lighter hydrocarbons in biomass gasification is secondary catalytic reforming, converting hydrocarbons to useful permanent gases. Albeit that it has been in use for a long time in fossil feedstock catalytic steam reforming, understanding of the catalytic processes is still limited. Naphthalene is typically present in the biomass gasification gas and to further understand the elementary steps of naphthalene transformation, we investigated the temperature dependent naphthalene adsorption, dehydrogenation and passivation on Ni(111). TPD (temperature-programmed desorption) and STM (scanning tunneling microscopy) in ultrahigh vacuum environment from 110 K up to 780 K, combined with DFT (density functional theory) were used in the study. Room temperature adsorption results in a flat naphthalene monolayer. DFT favors the dibridge[7] geometry but the potential energy surface is rather smooth and other adsorption geometries may coexist. DFT also reveals a pronounced dearomatization and charge transfer from the adsorbed molecule into the nickel surface. Dehydrogenation occurs in two steps, with two desorption peaks at approximately 450 and 600 K. The first step is due to partial dehydrogenation generating active hydrocarbon species that at higher temperatures migrates over the surface forming graphene. The graphene formation is accompanied by desorption of hydrogen in the high temperature TPD peak. The formation of graphene effectively passivates the surface both for hydrogen adsorption and naphthalene dissociation. In conclusion, the obtained results on the model naphthalene and Ni(111) system, provides insight into elementary steps of naphthalene adsorption, dehydrogenation, and carbon passivation, which may serve as a good starting point for rational design, development and optimization of the Ni catalyst surface, as well as process conditions, for the aromatic hydrocarbon reforming process.

  • 2016. Oliver Schalk (et al.). Journal of Physical Chemistry A 120 (15), 2320-2329

    We have reinvestigated the excited state dynamics of cyclohexa-1,3-diene (CHD) with time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and fewest switches surface hopping molecular dynamics based on linear response time dependent density functional theory after excitation to the lowest lying pi pi* (1B) state. The combination of both theory and experiment revealed several new results: First, the dynamics progress on one single excited state surface. After an incubation time of 35 +/- 10 fs on the excited state, the dynamics proceed to the ground state in an additional 60 +/- 10 fs, either via a conrotatory ring-opening to hexatriene or back to the CHD ground state. Moreover, ring-opening predominantly occurs when the wavepacket crosses the region of strong nonadiabatic coupling with a positive velocity in the bond alternation coordinate. After 100 fs, trajectories remaining in the excited state must return to the CHD ground state. This extra time delay induces a revival of the photoelectron signal and is an experimental confirmation of the previously formulated model of two parallel reaction channels with distinct time constants. Finally, our simulations suggest that after the initially formed cis-Z-cis HT rotamer the trans-Z-trans isomer is formed, before the thermodynamical equilibrium of three possible rotamers is reached after 1 ps.

  • 2016. Ryan J. MacDonell (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 145 (11)

    We report a joint experimental and theoretical study on the photoinitiated ultrafast dynamics of acrylonitrile (AN) and two methylated analogs: crotonitrile (CrN) and methacrylonitrile (MeAN). Time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (TRPES) and ab initio simulation are employed to discern the conical intersection mediated vibronic dynamics leading to relaxation to the ground electronic state. Each molecule is pumped with a femtosecond pulse at 200 nm and the ensuing wavepackets are probed by means of one and two photon ionization at 267 nm. The predominant vibrational motions involved in the de-excitation process, determined by ab initio trajectory simulations, are an initial twisting about the C=C axis followed by pyramidalization at a carbon atom. The decay of the time-resolved photoelectron signal for each molecule is characterized by exponential decay lifetimes for the passage back to the ground state of 60 +/- 10, 86 +/- 11, and 97 +/- 9 fs for AN, CrN, and MeAN, respectively. As these results show, the excited state dynamics are sensitive to the choice of methylation site and the explanation for the observed trend may be found in the trajectory simulations. Specifically, since the pyramidalization motion leading to the conical intersection with the ground state is accompanied by the development of a partial negative charge at the central atom of the pyramidal group, the electron donation of the cyano group ensures that this occurs exclusively at the medial carbon atom. In this way, the donated electron density from the cyano group directs the wavepacket to a particular region of the intersection seam. The excellent agreement between the experimental and simulated TRPES spectra, the latter determined by employing trajectory simulations, demonstrates that this mechanistic picture is consistent with the spectroscopic results.

  • 2015. Oliver Schalk (et al.). Journal of Physical Chemistry A 119 (45), 11105-11112

    A series of different alkyl vinyl ethers is investigated to decipher the possible reaction channels upon photoexcitation to the pi 3s-Rydberg and the pi pi*-valence state at 200 nm using time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and on-the-fly time-dependent density functional theory dynamics simulations. The results indicate two possible relaxation pathways: (1) a radiationless decay through the pi pi*-state back to the ground state via torsion of the C=C double bond, in accordance with the dynamics found in ethylene; and (2) a fast dissociation of the C-O bond between the alkyl and the vinoxy group in the pi sigma*-state. The latter state can be accessed only after excitation to the pi 3s-Rydberg state (quantum yield of similar to 50% according to the dynamics simulations). Additionally, the excited state barrier leading to formation of a vinyl radical was found to be too high to be crossed. These results indicate that the dynamics of ethers crucially depend on the excitation wavelength and that the pi sigma*-state constitutes an important competitive reaction channel that leads to dissociation of the molecules.

  • 2013. Jörgen Gladh, Tony Hansson, Henrik Öström. Surface Science 615, 65-71

    We studied femtosecond laser-induced desorption of CO from Ru(0001) using intense near-infrared and visible femtosecond laser pulses. We find a pronounced wavelength dependence with a factor 3-4 higher desorption yield at comparable fluence when desorption is induced via 400 nm light, compared to 800 nm and attribute this difference to the difference in penetration depth of the incident light. All our data can be described using empirical friction-modeling to determine the desorption mechanism with the same mechanism for both wavelengths. We find that both hot electrons and phonons contribute to the desorption process.

  • 2012. Henrik Öberg (et al.). The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 116 (17), 9550-9560

    The kinetics of acetylene adsorption and cyclotrimerization was studied by vibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopy (SFG) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. At low temperature, SFG shows two resonances corresponding to acetylene adsorbed in two different sites. Upon heating, two new vibrational resonances appear. We interpret these resonances as being due to C2H2 island formation and adsorbed C4H4, which is the intermediate in the subsequent cyclotrimerization reaction to form benzene. A kinetic model is applied, which allows determination of the relevant activation barriers. The barrier for C2H2 diffusion is determined to be 43 +/- 1 kJ/mol. The activation barrier for formation of the C4H4 intermediate is found to be 84 +/- 6 kJ/mol and the barrier for benzene formation 5 +/- 3 kJ/mol lower. Barriers to diffusion and formation of C4H4 and C6H6 obtained from DFT calculations are in quantitative agreement with the experiments once the locally high coverage in C2H2 islands is included.

  • 2010. Sviatlana Viarbitskaya (et al.). Physical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 81 (5), 53850

    The resonance-enhanced surface second-harmonic generation (SHG) from a suspension of polystyrene microspheres was investigated as a function of particle size in a range of the order of the fundamental wavelength for two different second-harmonic-enhancing dyes-malachite green and pyridine 1. The two dyes gave the same strongly modulated pattern of the forward second-harmonic scattering efficiency. Direct comparison to the nonlinear Rayleigh-Gans-Debye (NLRGD) and nonlinear Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (NLWKB) model predictions showed that the NLWKB model reproduces the overall trend in the size dependence but fails with respect to the strong modulations. The standard NLRGD model was found to fail altogether in the present particle size range, which was well beyond the observed upper particle size for which the NLRGD and NLWKB models give comparable results. A generalization of the NLRGD model to allow for dispersion and to use the particle refractive indices instead of those of the surrounding medium extended its applicability range by almost an order of magnitude in particle size. There is a pronounced maximal SHG efficiency for particles with a radius that is close to the fundamental wavelength inside the particle. The optically soft particle approximation is inadequate to describe the SHG in this particle size range, as refraction and reflection of the waves at the particle surface have a decisive influence. Dispersion of the media plays a negligible role for particle sizes up to about twice the optimal one for SHG.

  • 2010. Tomasz Kloda (et al.). Physical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 82 (3), 33431

    We investigated by electron spectroscopy the strong-field multiphoton ionization of O-2 molecules with ultrashort laser pulses in the intensity range between the multiphoton and tunneling regimes. The ionization proceeds by at least three different mechanisms, in addition to the eight- and nine-photon nonresonant pathways. Transient multiphoton resonances with vibrational Rydberg levels give rise to direct Freeman-type peaks with sublaser linewidth and spin-orbit splitting. Some resonance levels actually become populated and yield extremely narrow lines because of postpulse vibrational autoionization. When the lowest photon order resonance channel for the Rydberg states is closed, a third contribution becomes dominant with a main peak at 0.4 eV that shares its main properties with the recently discovered universal low-energy structure in the electron spectra of atoms and molecules [C. I. Blaga et al., Nat. Phys. 5, 335 (2009); W. Quan et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 093001 (2009)]. The variation of the Freeman resonance spectrum with the laser peak intensity is well correlated with the vibronic Franck-Condon factors for the overlap of the intermediate Rydberg state with the O-2 ground state. Accordingly, the Freeman peaks could be unambiguously assigned to individual vibronic multiphoton resonances, and the disappearance of the Freeman resonances at a certain laser intensity could be explained. The population of the autoionizing Rydberg states could be assigned similarly to such vibronic resonances.

  • 2009. M. Elshakre (et al.). Journal of Chemical Physics 131 (18), 184302

    Conventional photoelectron and time-of-flight photoelectron-photoelectron coincidence (TOF-PEPECO) spectra have been measured for the outer valence region of the 1,4-bromofluorobenzene molecule. The photoelectron spectra were recorded using Hela radiation from a resonance Source, and the TOF-PEPECO spectra were recorded using HeII alpha radiation from a pulsed resonance source. The former provide energies of the cationic states and the latter of the dicationic states. The spectra are adequately interpreted with the aid of accurate Green's function calculations, showing very significant correlation effects. The lowest double ionization energy is found at 23.45 eV associated with the (4b(1))X-2 (1)A(1) dicationic state.

  • 2009. Dong Wang (et al.). Physical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 79 (2), 23402

    The evolution of a molecular wave packet created by an ultrashort laser pulse in a system of two coupled bound states is investigated by quantum dynamics calculations and semiclassical theory. Under suitable dynamical quantum interference conditions, the wave packet may be split into two separable fractions that move in different but partially overlapping regions of the energetically available phase space. Each wave-packet part can be individually addressed in the divided parts of the molecular phase space, and they are shown to go through separate long-term collapse-revival cycles analogous to those of wave packets moving in single anharmonic potentials. In a pump-probe scheme, the dynamics of the system would look very different depending on what internuclear distances are probed. The regular dynamics observable in the separated parts of the phase space takes on a quite irregular appearance in the regions that are shared by the wave-packet components. The wave-packet regularity is shown to depend sensitively on the pump pulse wavelength, which is a reflection of the energy range over which the quantum interference conditions are maintained. These conditions, as well as the wave-packet fraction revival times, are well reproduced by semiclassical theory.

  • 2008. Dong Wang (et al.). Physical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 77 (5)

    We apply wave-packet methods to study an ion-trap system imposing neither the rotating wave nor the Lamb-Dicke approximations. By this approach we show the existence of states with restricted phase-space evolution as a genuine consequence of quantum interference between wave-packet fractions. A particular instance of such a state oscillates between maximal entanglement and pure disentanglement between the constitute subsystems, where the characteristic crossover time is very rapid. Over longer time periods the dynamics of these states exhibits collapse-revival patterns with well-resolved fractional revivals in autocorrelation, inversion, and entanglement.

Show all publications by Tony Hansson at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 5, 2021

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