Olof Echt

Olof Echt
Materials Science & Physics
Demeritt Hall 323
9 Library Way
Durham NH 03824
(603) 862-3548


  • Dr. habil, 1986, University of Konstanz
  • Dr. rer. nat., 1979, University of Konstanz
  • Diploma in Physics, 1975, Free University of Berlin


Olof Echt’s early work was in nuclear physics, with experiments being done at the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin, the Institute for Atomic Physics in Bucharest, and the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Physics in Villigen. He then investigated radiation damage in metals using nuclear methods by in-situ nuclear reactions, or implantation or diffusion of radioactive probes into the samples. His current interests are the synthesis and properties of atomic and molecular clusters, including fullerenes. He has studied the photophysics of gas-phase fullerenes, determined lifetimes of excited states by pump-probe experiments, and measured insertion thresholds for implantation of metal ions into fullerenes. He regularly collaborates with researchers at the University of Innsbruck who grow clusters in superfluid droplets of helium; the physisorption of polar and non-polar gases on aggregates of fullerenes is among recent projects. Another area of research is the synthesis of thin films by pulsed laser deposition, including analysis of the mass and energy of neutrals and ions in the laser plume. 

Echt has been a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. A.W. Castleman Jr. at Penn State, and Visiting Professor at universities in Aarhus, Berlin, Copenhagen, Gothenborg, Innsbruck, and Karlsruhe. He spent a year at the Niels Bohr Institute Copenhagen and has frequently been Guest Professor at the University of Innsbruck where he is Honorary Professor.

Teaching Interests:

Dr. Echt has taught General Physics (PHYS408), courses in Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics (PHYS508), Quantum Mechanics (PHYS701&702), Experimental Physics (PHYS705/805), Optics (PHYS708/808), Introduction to Solid State Physics (PHYS718/818), and Advanced Solid State Physics (PHYS965). He also taught graduate courses in Cluster Science and in Statistical Mechanics of Nanosystems at the University of Innsbruck and during Summer Schools in France, Portugal and Scotland.

Research Areas:

  • Photophysics of fullerenes
  • Inelastic collisions between atomic ions and fullerenes
  • Ion-molecule reactions in atomic clusters and doped helium nanodroplets
  • Electron attachment to molecules and clusters
  • Optical spectroscopy of atomic clusters
  • Statistical physics of clusters
  • Pulsed-laser deposition of thin films

Select Publications:

  • S. Zöttl, A. Kaiser, P. Bartl, C. Leidlmair, A. Mauracher, M. Probst, S. Denifl, O. Echt, P. Scheier, “Methane adsorption on graphitic nanostructures: Every molecule counts,” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 3 (2012) 2598-2603, DOI: 10.1021/jz301106x.
  • L. An der Lan, P. Bartl, C. Leidlmair, R. Jochum, S. Denifl, O. Echt, and P. Scheier, “Solvation of Na+, K+ and their dimers in helium", Chem. Eur. J. 18 (2012) 4411-4418, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201103432.
  • C. Leidlmair, Y. Wang, P. Bartl, H. Schöbel, S. Denifl, M. Probst, M. Alcamí, F. Martín, H. Zettergren, K. Hansen. O. Echt, and P. Scheier, “Structures, energetics and dynamics of helium adsorbed on isolated fullerene ions”, Phys. Rev. Lett 108 (2012) 076101, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.076101.
  • C. Leidlmair, P. Bartl, H. Schöbel, S. Denifl, M. Probst, P. Scheier, O. Echt, “On the possible presence of weakly bound fullerene-H2 complexes in the interstellar medium,” Astrophys. J. Lett. 738 (2011) L4, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/738/1/L4.
  • H. Schöbel, C. Leidlmair, P. Bartl, S. Denifl, O. Echt, T. D. Märk, P. Scheier, "Ion-molecule reactions of ammonia clusters with C60 aggregates embedded in helium droplets", Phys.Chem.Chem.Phys. 13 (2011) 1092-1098, DOI: 10.1039/C0CP01268H.
  • O. Echt, T. D. Märk, and P. Scheier, "Molecules and clusters embedded in helium nanodroplets", CRC Handbook of Nanophysics vol. 2, Clusters and Fullerenes (K. Sattler, Ed. in Chief), Taylor & Francis, 2011, chapter 20, ISBN: 978-1-4200-7554-0.