Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nora Berrah


This thesis concentrates on the study of photoionization of van der Waals clusters with different cluster sizes. The goal of the experimental investigation is to understand the electronic structure of van der Waals clusters and the electronic dynamics. These studies are fundamental to understand the interaction between UV-X rays and clusters. The experiments were performed at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The experimental method employs angle-resolved time-of-flight photoelectron spectrometry, one of the most powerful methods for probing the electronic structure of atoms, molecules, clusters and solids.

The van der Waals cluster photoionization studies are focused on probing the evolution of the photoelectron angular distribution parameter as a function of photon energy and cluster size. The angular distribution has been known to be a sensitive probe of the electronic structure in atoms and molecules. However, it has not been used in the case of van der Waals clusters.

We carried out outer-valence levels, inner-valence levels and core-levels cluster photoionization experiments. Specifically, this work reports on the first quantitative measurements of the angular distribution parameters of rare gas clusters as a function of average cluster sizes.

Our findings for xenon clusters is that the overall photon-energy-dependent behavior of the photoelectrons from the clusters is very similar to that of the corresponding free atoms. However, distinct differences in the angular distribution point at cluster-size-dependent effects were found. For krypton clusters, in the photon energy range where atomic photoelectrons have a high angular anisotropy, our measurements show considerably more isotropic angular distributions for the cluster photoelectrons, especially right above the 3d and 4p thresholds. For the valence electrons, a surprising difference between the two spin-orbit components was found. For argon clusters, we found that the angular distribution parameter values of the two-spin-orbit components from Ar 2p clusters are slightly different. When comparing the β values for Ar between atoms and clusters, we found different results between Ar 3s atoms and clusters, and between Ar 3p atoms and clusters. Argon cluster resonance from surface and bulk were also measured. Furthermore, the angular distribution parameters of Ar cluster photoelectrons and Ar atom photoelectrons in the 3s [arrow right] np ionization region were obtained.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Physics Commons