Paul W. Percival



  • M.A. - Oxford University
  • D.Phil. - Oxford University


Physical Chemistry

Muonium Chemistry and its applications to H atom kinetics, organic free radicals and chemistry in supercritical water
Muonium (Mu) is the exotic atom consisting of a single electron and a positive muon. From a chemical point of view, muonium is a light isotope of hydrogen; its mass is 1/9 that of H. Our experimental program is conducted at the TRIUMF accelerator facility (see also SFU TRIUMF), one of the few places in the world where high intensity muon beams are available. The muon lifetime is short (2.2 μs), and measurements involve particle physics, fast electronics and computers. However, the experimental techniques muon spin rotation (μSR), muon level-crossing resonance (μLCR) and rf-μSR, all have close parallels in conventional magnetic resonance (NMR and ESR).

Our research group is a multi-disciplinary team engaged in the application of these spectroscopic methods to problems of chemical interest. These include:

  • H atom kinetics in superheated water, of relevance to development of a supercritical-water-cooled nuclear power reactor;
  • Free radical chemistry of organic molecules containing low-valent main-group elements;
  • Structure and dynamics of free radicals ranging from methyl to Mu adducts of fullerenes and polyaromatic hydrocarbons;
  • Free radical chemistry of clathrate hydrates.


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