Clusters: Each atom counts
In cluster physics, a cluster is defined to be an agglomerate of several atoms or molecules (monomers). It typically consists of two up to several thousand atoms. They are so small they cannot be observed using standard electron or scanning tunneling microscopes.
In this size regime, properties depend critically on the number of atoms n: Each atom makes a difference!
Due to their nanometer-scale size clusters are neither molecule nor bulk solid; their physical and chemical properties can differ radically from single molecules or large crystals which leads to exciting new physics. The most prominent examples for clusters are so-called fullerenes, e.g. clusters consisting of 60 carbon atoms. They are particularly stable and can be produced in macroscopic amounts. Hence they may serve as a building block for new materials made of clusters.
The Konstanz cluster group runs several experiments: