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MPC (Molecular Processes in Combustion)

MPC (Molecular Processes in Combustion)


The MPC laboratory is devoted to the study of the reaction dynamics at the molecular level of combustion environments.

Thanks to the collaboration with the FASST laboratory, the combustion process of some innovative biofuel molecules can also be investigated, in order to predict their behavior in high-temperature conditions and their ability to reduce the emission of harmful substances.


Combustion is characterized by a complex mechanism of elementary reactions that can be simulated only by theoretical models.

In order to develop accurate and realistic models, a synergistic effort of experiment and theory, in which the one strengthens and supports the other and vice versa, is needed and this is the focus of our research activity.

From an experimental point of view, we investigate combustion relevant elementary reactions, determine their primary products, and their relative yields (branching fractions, BFs). The experimentally derived quantities are compared with theoretical predictions on ab initio potential energy surfaces (PESs) for the reaction. Once theory is validated by the experiment, theory can be used to calculate channel-specific rate constants as a function of temperature and pressure to be included in improved kinetic models of combustion. 


Main instrumental facilities

The MPC laboratory is composed of two facilities:

A well-established crossed molecular beam (CMB) apparatus with universal mass spectrometric (MS) detection and time-of-flight (TOF) analysis, through which we can study bimolecular reactions under single-collision conditions.


A new flash pyrolysis TOF-MS instrument using laser vacuum-ultra-violet (118 nm) soft photoionization detection, through which we can investigate the high temperature unimolecular decomposition of the fuel molecule. This apparatus will be implemented thanks to the AMIS funding.



Nadia Balucani (PI)

Piergiorgio Casavecchia

Gianmarco Vanuzzo

Giacomo Pannacci