Christopher Brion

Wall Associate


Professor Emeritus


Department of Chemistry





Geographic Location

Christopher Brion

Professor Emeritus

Primary Recipient Awards

Christopher Brion – Major Thematic Grant – 1997
This interdisciplinary basic research proposal sought new and detailed information on the fundamental relation between electron motion and the chemical, biochemical and physical properties of matter. A series of momentum-space experiments were undertaken to study in detail the momentum distributions of valence and core electrons (orbital imaging) for a range of systems of significant scientific interest and important technological applications. The measurements were made using an existing multichannel electron momentum spectrometer plus two new very high performance state-of-the-art instruments. This advanced technique, which has the unique ability to image the electron density in individual atomic and molecular orbitals in molecules or bands in solids, has been successfully developed at UBC into a state-of-the-art multichannel tool that is now suitable for the study of relative large chemical systems of practical interest in modern life and for which quantum mechanical theory needs to be developed, tested and refined with a view to improved computer aided molecular design and modeling of reactivity and function. Gas-phase model systems selected for study included small and intermediate size biomolecules, transition metal complexes, free radicals, metastable species and ions. The condensed matter targets included crystalline solids, ultrasmooth surfaces, nanostructures and adsorbed molecules, which were investigated using an ultra high vacuum reflection geometry hybrid EELS / EMS instrument that was designed and constructed under this grant. Additional information on surfaces and adsorbed molecules were obtained using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and various other surface science techniques such as LEED crystallography. The highly excited electronic states of many of these targets were also studied using high resolution EELS. This research endeavour was achieved by combining the interdisciplinary skills of a talented, experienced and well-equipped team of UBC researchers representing professional expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, surface physics, atomic physics, electronic, electrical and computer engineering, and materials sciences (AMPEL) together with the extensive design and fabrication facilities of the Mechanical and Electronic Engineering Workshops located in UBC Chemistry Department. The projects were further aided by the participation of leading national and international scientists working in related fields. The results of these fundamental studies found applications in significant areas of science, medicine and technology, including computer aided molecular design, molecular modeling, the screening and design of drugs, catalysis, theories of chemical reactivity, new materials, atmospheric and space sciences and plasmas.