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Christ Church Women in Science: Brianna Heazlewood

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Friday, February 9, 2018

Brianna HeazlewoodDr Brianna Heazlewood is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Christ Church and an EPSRC Early Career Fellow in the Department of Chemistry. You can find out more about her on her Christ Church website profile.

"I'm interested in one of the most fundamental questions in physical chemistry: how do reactions occur? To try and understand more about the reaction process, it is helpful to study reactions at very low temperatures. At the lowest temperatures, less than 1 Kelvin, we can remove thermal averaging, effectively cleaning up the chemistry that occurs at higher temperatures. With state-selected reactants and an ability to control the energy of reactive collisions, we are starting to probe how reactions occur. We employ techniques including laser cooling, ion trapping, electrostatic guiding, buffer-gas cooling, and Stark deceleration to achieve this control over ion-molecule reaction processes. We are looking to calculate the influence that parameters such as collision energy, internal energy, and orientation of the reactants have on the reaction rate, and on the properties of the products that are subsequently formed. There's a lot more to chemistry than people in white lab coats mixing beakers of brightly coloured liquids!"

To help to explain more about what she does, Brianna has contributed a short podcast to the Oxford Sparks 'Incredible Machines' series, explaining how the Stark Decelerator works and how it's used to carry out ultracold chemistry. Watch here

Brianna has also contributed to an Oxford Sparks animated video about light (which also features a contribution from fellow Christ Church scientist Jena Meinecke) - watch it here

Read more about Brianna's work on her Oxford Sparks profile and on the Department of Chemistry website.