Alston J. Misquitta
My research is focused on the theory of intermolecular interactions and the applications of the detailed and accurate theoretical models for molecule interactions to exciting physical problems. Topics include:

 
Nucleation
Nucleation in the gas and from the liquid.
 
van der Waals interactions

Exploring the fundamentals of intermolecular interactions: charge-transfer, van der Waals interactions in 1D nano-systems where traditional models breakdown, description of polarization in molecular and lod dimensional extended systems; exploration of non-additive, many-body effects.
 
Development of accurate many-body non-additive interaction models.


Here is an example of an unusual and rather important manifestation of intermolecular interactions: the formation of soot, or black carbon, in internal combustion engines is thought to proceed by the aggregation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) through the dispersion or van der Waals forces which is one of the attractive components of intermolecular interactions. Soot has come to be recognised as an important player in climate change through its ability to alter the energy balance in the upper atmosphere (figure on the left is a photos of atmospheric particulates from forest fires in California, the same occurs with engine soot, but less dramatically). 
Soot is thought to form in internal combustion engines by the aggregation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by van der Waals interactions.
On the right is an illustration of a soot particle in an engine. The nanocluster of PAHs molecules is taken from an actual calculation. If we could understand the precise mechanism by which this aggregation occurred, we would be able to devise methods to suppress soot formation and consequently make immediate changes to our impact on our climate. The key here is the timescale: CO2 remains in the atmosphere for of the order 100  years. Soot remains airborne for days. So a change now would have an immediate impact on our climate (though not necessarily for the better as other particulates produced in engines can have a cooling effect!).

For more on Intermolecular Interactions see the link on the left menu bar.