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New Avenues for Ultraspecific Chemical and Chiral Analysis via Microwave Spectroscopy

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

David Patterson

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Harvard University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Phys Chem/Chem Phys Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

 

Microwave spectroscopy exhibits unparalleled specificity as a chemical analysis technique, definitively identifying every isomer, conformer, isotopomer and enantiomer of every component of a mixture.  Such specificity is a critical prerequisite for analyzing complex chemical mixtures, both on Earth and in space.  Until recently, analyzing real-world mixtures via microwave spectroscopy has proven impractical, primarily due to sensitivity limits and constraints on introducing gas phase samples into widely used supersonic jets. We will present new, general techniques to produce and analyze cold, gas phase samples, including new techniques for sensitive chiral analysis and detection of highly reactive short-lived chemical intermediates.  These techniques open the door to a suite of previously unrealizable experiments, including broad searches for chemical intermediates, low-barrier and barrierless chemistry under ISM-like conditions, and searches for chiral spontaneous symmetry breaking relevant to the origins of life.