Emeritus in the research group "Reaction Dynamics" at Laboratoire Interactions, Dynamiques et Lasers (LIDYL) – UMR 9222
My research objective is to unravel the dynamics of complex reactions that involve many degrees of freedom and several potential energy surfaces. Of particular interest are reactive systems that are representative of important classes of reactions in chemistry, such as electron transfer and proton transfer reactions. Experimentally, it is important to isolate the reactive system when information on the intrinsic dynamics is desired. In contrast, for studying the effect of a reaction medium (solvent) it is useful to put the reactive system in a controled environment. It is also very important to complement the experimental results by the ab-initio calculations of the relevant potential energy surfaces. Experimental techniques based on the Cluster Isolated Chemical Reaction method, tunable lasers, femtosecond lasers, velocity maping of photo ions and photoelectrons, infrared spectroscopy in helium nanodroplets are developped in our research group as well as ab-initio calculations.
Born in 1952 in Paris, France, Jean-Michel Mestdagh grew up in Paris area. He is a former student at Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) and Université Pierre et Marie-Curie (Paris). He obtained his BSc in Physics in 1974 and a year later his MSc in Atomic and Molecular Physics. In 1976, he became chargé de recherche at the CNRS. He did a Doctorat d'état (habilitation thesis) at the CEA Saclay on collision induced fine structure transitions of electronically excited alkali atoms, under the supervision of Jacques Baudon (Université paris Nord) and that of Jacques Berlande (CEA Saclay). He moved for one year in Berkeley (USA) for a post-doc in the group of Y.T. Lee. His projet there was the reactions dynamics of electronically excited alkali atoms. An important achievement was to examine the effect of the orbital alignment and orientation on the dynamics of the reaction. In 1982, he was back in France at the CEA Saclay where he carried out crossed beam experiments on the dynamics of electronically excited alkaline earth atoms in reaction with small molecules. He became a Directeur de Recherche at CNRS in 1990. In 1995, he oriented a part of his activity towards femtochemistry. He has presently an emeritus position. His present activity concerns the dynamics of very floppy molecular complexes within helium nanodroplets.