Advances in ion spectroscopy - from astrophysics to biology Faraday Discussion

8 - 10 April 2019, York, United Kingdom

Gaseous ion spectroscopy generally couples mass spectrometry with a class of high-resolution laser spectroscopy, providing a route for studying the intrinsic chemical and physical properties of isolated ions. The isolation of the molecular ion of interest from its native environment is important to decouple the influence of the surroundings from the intrinsic properties. The effect of the environment can then be incrementally re-introduced through studies of sequentially solvated clusters, which allow the interaction with solvent molecules with the ion to be studied on the molecular level. This field has the potential to impact a wide range of chemical, physical and biological problems and it has seen a rapid diversification in the past decade with the application of different ion sources, cryogenic ion traps, and new light sources such that this potential impact is rapidly being realised. The rapid development of experimental techniques has required a concomitant development of theory, which is now being used to model ever larger systems both in terms of structure and dynamics.
The rapid growth of the field and impressive scientific achievements over the past decade make this meeting both timely and topical and we hope will provide a roadmap of where the field is and what the challenges will be over the next 5-10 years and beyond. The meeting sessions will be structured by technique developments and within these sessions, the various broad applications will be discussed, along with the associated state-of-the-art theoretical methods.


The Faraday Division have been organising high impact Faraday Discussions in rapidly developing areas of the physical sciences, with a focus on physical chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines for over 100 years

Faraday Discussions have a special format where research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. Everyone contributes to the discussion - including presenting their own relevant research. The research papers and a record of the discussion are published in the journal Faraday Discussions.


The purpose of this Faraday Discussion is to bring together experimentalists and theoreticians working on ion spectroscopy in a broad sense and to provide a forum to discuss the latest innovations and applications. These will range from the IR spectroscopy and anion formation mechanism of molecules in the interstellar medium, to the intrinsic structure of catalytic centres in chemical reactions, to the ultrafast dynamics of bioactive chromophores, to exotic ionic systems such as Coulombic crystals and dipole-bound anions.


  • Controlling internal degrees
Temperature is a very important concept in ion spectroscopy and its control has seen tremendous advances in recent years. Cryogenic ion traps are now found in many experiments and serve as thermostats, reaction vessels, clustering sources and spectroscopic sample chambers. The control over internal degrees of freedom provides routes to forming ions that are relevant at cryogenic temperatures such as in the interstellar medium and to control and lock-in conformations. It also provides a condensing environment and allows weakly bound clusters to be formed, which in turn provides new routes to action spectroscopy. This session will discuss the most recent developments in cryogenic spectroscopy and the research it enables and how new theoretical methods allow the prediction of experimental spectra as a function of temperature. The main discussion topics will cover: the best cooling methods; how temperature can be used to form exotic clusters and weakly interacting systems; and the possibilities for probing conformational locking and metastable structures.
  • Pushing resolution in frequency and time 
One of the most important aspects of spectroscopy in general is resolution: the higher it is, the more information can be attained. At one end, spectral resolution provides geometric and electronic structural information and insights into weak interactions such as hydrogen bonds. At the other end, temporal resolution provides insight into geometric and electronic structural dynamics. The aim of this session is to provide a forum to discuss the state of the art in terms of resolution in general and how recent advances in light sources and ion mass spectroscopy can be used to study unexplored phenomena and interactions. Theoretical developments also have a key role in this area, particularly in relation to time-resolved measurements, since theoretical predictions are of key importance for providing molecular-insight into the observed experimental dynamics. The key discussion points will revolve around how experiment and theory can best combine to achieve the deepest insight, both in terms of structure and dynamics; and how new light sources may open new horizons.
  • Going larger: Complex molecules and probing interactions with the environment.
With the introduction of new ion sources and advanced mass-spectrometric techniques coupled to spectroscopy, ever larger complexes are being probed. This increase in size is coupled with an increase in complexity requiring new methodologies (both experimental and theoretical) but also providing new opportunities. This session will primarily focus on the application of ion spectroscopy of non-covalent interactions in clusters and biological systems. These include solvent clusters, secondary and tertiary structure of proteins, and weakly-bound molecular clusters. Topics covered will include: structural probes for weak interactions; advances in action spectroscopy; and conformationally selective spectroscopy. A key discussion point will concern the marriage of mass-spectrometery with optical spectroscopy. The interpretation of experimental data obtained for these larger systems demands concomitant developments in theoretical methods, and the session will provide an opportunity for comparative discussions of new theoretical approaches in this field.
  • Exotic systems
Gaseous ions provides routes to studying exotic molecular systems. These including Coulomb crystals, multiply-charged ions (anions and cations), solvated electrons, resonances, and dipole-, multipole-, or correlation-bound anions. Spectroscopy on such systems yields deep insight into the interactions that hold them together and they can be used as new spectroscopic tools. This session will explore the spectroscopy of exotic ionic systems and their application to new methods.  Exotic molecular systems provide challenging targets that push the limits of current theoretical methodologies, so the session will discuss new theoretical approaches that accurately predict the characteristics of exotic systems.
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 23 July 2018 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 19 November 2018.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.   

Poster Abstracts 

Submit your poster abstract by 29 January 2019. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference. 

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation. 
Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

Registration includes:
  • Attendance at the sessions 
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on Monday 8 April
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on Tuesday 9 April
  • A copy of the discussion pre-prints (hard copy needs to be requested during registration)
  • A copy of the final theme issue of Faraday Discussion Volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 6 months after the meeting)**
  • For non-member registrants, membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2019
Registration fees are as follows: 
Early Bird
(by 18 Feb 2019)
(by 11 Mar 2019)
Member* £355 £410
Non-Member*** £460 £515
Student Member* £170 £225
Student Non-Member £195 £250

Registration fees are VAT exempt.

   * If you are an Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

   **Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference. 

  ***For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2019, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.  

Student Delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee (to include a set of pre-prints but not the final Discussion Volume) is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the publication may be purchased at less than half price, only for orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available.   

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner on Tuesday 9 April and is included in the regsitration fee. 
Book now

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

We have two types of grants available to attend this meeting: 
  •  A limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
To take advantage of the competitive grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!

Applications for either grant should be submitted as early as possible, but at least 8 weeks in advance of the start of the meeting (11 February 2019). Please see respective terms & conditions for full eligibility information.
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at Advances in Ion Spectroscopy - From Astrophysics to Biology Faraday Discussion

As well as booking a table top exhibition space, there are opportunities to sponsor social events, advertise in the abstract book or place a promotional item in delegate packs. For further information and prices please download the sponsorship menu from this page.

Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information about sponsoring Advances in Ion Spectroscopy - From Astrophysics to Biology Faraday Discussion, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry ( Sponsorship Menu
National Stem Learning Centre

National Stem Learning Centre, The University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

There is limited on site accommodation in Franklin House available for booking at the time of registration.  2 nights B&B (single en suite) £96

Organised by
Organised by the Faraday Divison in assocation with the Analytical Division
Contact information
Showing all upcoming events
Start Date
End Date
Subject area
Event type


E-mail Enquiry