University of Tennessee Physics

Dr. Joseph H. Macek

Professor and Distinguishd Scientist
Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1964

Office: 308 South College
Phone: 865-974-0770
Fax: 865-974-6278


My research interests are the theory of ion-atom and electron-atom collisions, electron correlations in atoms, perturbation theory, the theory of angular correlations, and the Coulomb three-body problem at the non-relativistic level. The interaction of atoms with electromagnetic radiation is also a subject of current research. The primary objective of our theoretical research is to elucidate the underlying physical mechanisms that give rise to experimentally observable features of atomic structure and processes. This search has lead us to concentrate on the Coulomb three-body problem for those processes which result in the breakup of atomic systems into three charged fragments.

My study of the Coulomb three-body problem has concentrated on that energy region where three-particle correlations dominate and cannot easily be treated on an {\it ab initio} basis using standard theoretical techinques. Together with S. Yu. Ovchinnikov of the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute in St. Petersberg, Russia, we have developed analytical and numerical techniques the have yielded fairly accurate descriptions of fragmentation in low-energy proton-hydrogen and electron-hydrogen collisions. Our search concentrates on improving the analytical and computational methods and computing quantities that will test the theory experimentally. In this latter task we collaborate with Dr. C. Havner at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and experimental groups in Russia and Denmark. We also enjoy collaborations with theoretical groups in Denmark, Holland, Cambridge (U.K.), London and Columbia. A postdoctoral associate, Dr. Dimitri Khrebtekov, has recently joined our group and adds his expertise on mathematical and analytical techinques to the resources of our group.

"Exotic" Coulomb three-body systems such as those involving positrons and antiprotons are studied in collaboration with Dr. Sandra Ward of North Texas State University and Dr. Ken-Ichi Hino of the The Insitute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) in Japan. This is a fairly new subject for our group, but the study of these systems is timely owing to experimental interest in exotic species.

Brief Vita

Professor Joseph H. Macek, Distinguished Scientist, earned a B.S. in Engineering Physics from South Dakota State University in 1960, and a Ph.D. degree from Renesselaer Polytechnic Institue in 1964. After two years as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute for Science and Technology) in Washington, D. C. and two years as an Oxford-Harwell Fellow at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, England, he joined the faculty of University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) where he became a chaired professor 1986. He took his present position at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1988. During his career he has been a visiting scientist at the Free University in Berlin, the University of Freiburg in Germany and the Institute of Physics in Aarhus, Denmark. Professor Macek is an author or co-author of over 100 papers, a fellow of the American Physical Society, a correspondent for Comments on Atomic and Molecular Physics, and a receipiant of the Award for Outstanding Research (UNL) in 1979.

Selected Publications

  1. Joseph Macek and Knud Taulbjerg, "Theory of binary encounter electrons in ion-atom collisions", J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 26, 1353 (1993).
  2. P. M. Bergstrom, Jr., Ken-ichi Hino, and Joseph H. Macek, "Two-electron ejection from helium by Compton scattering", Phys. Rev. A 51, 3044 (1995).
  3. J. H. Macek, S. Yu Ovchinnikov and S. V. Pasovets, "Hidden crossing theory of threshold ionization of atoms by electron impact", Phys. Rev. Letters 74, 4031 (1995).
  4. S. Yu. Ovchinnikov and J. H. Macek, "Electron-energy and angular-distribution theory for low-energy ion-atom collisions", Phys. Rev. Letters 75, 2474 (1995).
  5. J. H. Macek and S. Yu. Ovchinnikov, "Hyperspherical theory of three-particle fragmentation and Wannier's threshold law", Phys. Rev. A 54, 1 (1996).