New way to ionise large molecules is discovered

An international research team led by researchers at the Department of Physics has discovered a new way to ionise large molecules that cannot be explained by the photoelectric effect, which was discovered by Albert Einstein.

The discovery has implications for astrophysics in describing how charged particles behave in newborn stars.

The discovery, which recently was published as a lead story in Physical Review Letters, has fundamental importance for understanding the ionisation process. This is the process by which an atom, through the loss of one or more electrons, makes the transition from being neutral to becoming positively charged.