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Molecular Beams in Physics and Chemistry

From Otto Stern's Pioneering Exploits to Present-Day Feats

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  • © 2021

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  • Comprehensive Open Access account of the history and current achievements of molecular beam research

  • Chapters authors are world leaders in their respective research areas

  • Serves as a guide to the highlight topics within the vast research field spawned by the molecular beam method

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About this book

This Open Access book gives a comprehensive account of both the history and current achievements of molecular beam research.


In 1919, Otto Stern launched the revolutionary molecular beam technique. This technique made it possible to send atoms and molecules with well-defined momentum through vacuum and to measure with high accuracy the deflections they underwent when acted upon by transversal forces. These measurements revealed unforeseen quantum properties of nuclei, atoms, and molecules that became the basis for our current understanding of quantum matter. This volume shows that many key areas of modern physics and chemistry owe their beginnings to the seminal molecular beam work of Otto Stern and his school.


Written by internationally recognized experts, the contributions in this volume will help experienced researchers and incoming graduate students alike to keep abreast of current developments in molecular beam research as well as to appreciate the history and evolution of this powerful method and the knowledge it reveals.

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Table of contents (27 chapters)

  1. Historical Perspectives

  2. Foundations of Quantum Physics and Precision Measurements

  3. Femto- and Atto-Science

Editors and Affiliations

  • Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany

    Bretislav Friedrich

  • Institut für Kernphysik, Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    Horst Schmidt-Böcking

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