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Chemical Physics

Content About: Chemical Physics

Published: 12/20/2016 - 9:38am Type of Content: News

Markus Raschke has been given a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award by the Humboldt Foundation. The award is given in recognition of lifetime achievements in research. Award winners are invited to conduct reseach projects of their choice in cooperation with colleagues in Germany, with the goal of promoting international scientific cooperation. The Humboldt Foundation annually grants about...

Published: 11/23/2016 - 8:30am Type of Content: News

Markus Raschke has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), according to an AAAS news release published on the web on November 21, 2016. Former JILAn Steven Cundiff was also elected a Fellow of the AAAS this year.

The new Fellows are among the 391 AAAS members elected Fellows by their peers. The honor recognizes distinguished efforts to...

Published: 11/21/2016 - 9:24am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Mike Thompson of the Weber group wants to understand the basic science of taking carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning fossil fuels and converting it back into useful fuels. People could then use these fuels to generate electricity, heat homes and office buildings, power automobiles and trains, fly airplanes, and drive the industrial processes of modern life.

However...

Published: 10/27/2016 - 12:06pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Using frequency comb spectroscopy, the Ye group has directly observed transient intermediate steps in a chemical reaction that plays a key role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, and chemistry in the interstellar medium. The group was able to make this first-ever measurement because frequency combs generate a wide range of laser wavelengths in ultrafast pulses. These pulses made it possible...

Published: 09/26/2016 - 12:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Nesbitt group has invented a nifty technique for exploring the physics and chemistry of a gas interacting with molecules on the surface of a liquid. The group originally envisioned the technique because it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of understanding surface chemistry. For instance, ozone depletion in the atmosphere occurs because of chemical reactions of hydrochloric acid...

Published: 07/22/2015 - 3:59pm Type of Content: News

JILA Fellow W. Carl Lineberger has been awarded the 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Experiment, which includes a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal. Lineberger is E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Theory and a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal were given to Millard Alexander, University of...

Published: 04/27/2015 - 7:57am Type of Content: News

W. Carl Lineberger, JILA Fellow and E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has won the 2015 NAS Award in Chemical Sciences. He was recognized for the development of negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy, which scientists can use to determine the electron affinity of the neutral version of an atom or molecule. Electron...

Published: 01/14/2014 - 8:17am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Capturing and controlling the fleeting dance of electrons as they rearrange during a chemical reaction has been a long-standing challenge in science for several decades. Since electrons are much lighter than atoms, they can respond almost instantaneously – on time scales of hundreds of attoseconds, where an attosecond is 10-18 s.

Fortunately, over the last decade scientists have created...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 2:42pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Ben Knurr and Fellow Mathias Weber have added new insight into a catalytic reaction based on a single gold atom with an extra electron that transfers this electron into carbon dioxide molecules (CO2). This reaction could be an important first step future industrial processes converting waste CO2 back into chemical fuels. As such, it could play a key role in a future carbon-...

Published: 08/17/2012 - 3:51pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The interface between a gas and a solid is a remarkable environment for new investigations. Lots of fascinating chemistry takes place there, including catalysis. Catalysis is acceleration of a chemical reaction that is caused by an element like platinum that remains unchanged by a chemical reaction. For instance platinum catalyzes the transformation of carbon monoxide (CO) into carbon dioxide...

Published: 10/18/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Searching for Clues in Quantum Fingerprints

The Nesbitt group wants to figure out how chemistry works in outer space. In particular, the group wants to understand the “cosmo”-chemistry leading to the generation of soot, which is similar to products of combustion here on Earth.

“Outer space is full of molecules,” Nesbitt explains. “We want to discover how these molecules are...

Published: 05/10/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Lewandowski group recently decided to see what would happen if it could get cold molecules (1K–1mK) and ultracold (<1mK) atoms to collide. Former graduate student L. Paul Parazzoli, graduate student Noah Fitch, and Fellow Heather Lewandowski devised a novel experiment to determine the collision behavior of cold (100 mK) deuterated ammonia (ND3) molecules and ultracold (600 microK)...

Published: 01/03/2011 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The dance of electrons as a bromine molecule (Br2) separates into two atoms is intricate and complex. The process of breaking up takes far longer than expected (~150 vs 85 fs) because the cloud of electrons that bind atoms together in a molecule behaves as if it were still surrounding a molecule until the last possible moment — when the atomic fragments are about twice the normal distance...

Published: 08/17/2010 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Solvents don’t just dissolve other chemicals (called solutes) and then sit around with their hands in their pockets. Instead, they get involved in all sorts of different ways when dissolved molecules toss electrons around, i.e., they facilitate charge transfer events. In research, the hard part is fi guring out exactly how and when solvent molecules get involved when an electron hops from one...

Published: 04/08/2010 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Mathias Weber and his team recently did the following experiment: They excited the methyl group (CH3) on one end of nitromethane anion (CH3NO2-) with an infrared (IR) laser. The laser got the methyl group vibrating with enough energy to get the nitro group (NO2) at the other end of the molecule wagging hard enough to spit out its extra electron. The figure here, which appeared on the April 1...

Published: 02/09/2010 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Carl Lineberger and his group recently achieved some exciting firsts: (1) the experimental observation of the oxyallyl diradical, a key intermediate in a series of important chemical reactions, and (2) the posting of an abstract of the Angewandte Chemie cover story reporting this achievement — on Facebook! While the Lineberger group is responsible for the clever design of the...

Published: 02/09/2010 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellow Ralph Jimenez is applying his knowledge of lasers, microscopy, and the precise control of tiny amounts of fluids to the development of a battery-powered blood analyzer for use "off-grid" in Third World countries. He is collaborating with Jeff Squier, David Marr, and their students from the Colorado School of Mines and Charles Eggleton and his student from the University of Maryland,...

Published: 07/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The new molecules are as big as a virus. They’re ultracold. And, they’re held together by a ghostly quantum mechanical force field with the energy of about 100 billionths of an electron volt.

These strange diatomic rubidium (Rb) molecules are the world’s first long-range Rydberg molecules. They were recently formed in Tilman Pfau’s laboratory at the University of Stuttgart from an...

Published: 04/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Weber group wants to understand how the individual building blocks of DNA interact with ultraviolet (UV) light. Such knowledge would be an important step toward gaining a detailed understanding of the molecular processes responsible for the UV-induced DNA damage that results in mutations and can lead to cancer or cell death.

Graduate student Jesse Marcum, student assistant Amit...

Published: 04/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Quantum dots are tiny structures made of semiconductor materials. With diameters of 1–5 nm, they are small enough to constrain their constituents in all three dimensions. This constraint means that when a photon of light knocks an electron into the conduction band and creates an electron/hole pair, the pair can’t get out of the dot. In terms of quantum mechanics, this confinement...

Published: 04/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Solvents — those things like water that dissolve other things like salt or sugar — are key players in some chemical reactions. That’s why the Lineberger group has come up with a nifty, but simplified, model system for studying solvent behavior. The group investigates the photodissociation and recombination of simple gas-phase anions, such as iodine bromide (IBr-), when they...

Published: 04/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Greene group just figured out everything you theoretically might want to know about four fermions "crashing" into each other at low energies. Low energies in this context mean ultracold temperatures under conditions where large, floppy Feshbach molecules form. The group decided to investigate four fermions because this number makes up the smallest ultracold few-body system exhibiting...

Published: 02/09/2009 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Imagine being able to study how molecules form on the quantum level. It turns out that researchers have already figured out some nifty techniques involving lasers and jets of reactive atoms for doing just that in a gaseous environment. Now graduate student Alex Zolot, former Visiting Fellow Paul Dagdikian of Johns Hopkins University, and Fellow David Nesbitt have taken this kind of study...

Published: 07/08/2008 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

For many years, chemists have explored the differences between liquids and solids. One difference is that liquid surfaces tend to be softer than solid surfaces (from the perspective of molecules crashing onto them). Another difference is that the surface of at least one oily liquid (perfluorinated polyether, or PFPE) actually gets stickier as it gets hotter, according to a new study by...

Published: 02/09/2008 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

An excellent way to watch proteins fold is to probe the inside of a microfluidics device with light. This tiny device contains micron-sized three-dimensional (3D) transparent channels that carry small amounts of liquid. Inside the channels, the fluid flow is laminar, i.e., there is no turbulence. Consequently, fluid flow through them is predictable and easily modeled. Microfluidics devices...

Published: 02/09/2008 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Benzene has a special ring structure that allows some of its electrons to be shared among all six carbon atoms in the ring. It turns out that chemists like Fellow J. Mathias Weber can adjust the charge density in the ring by exchanging hydrogen (H) atoms in the ring with other atoms or groups of atoms. Such exchanges can change the charge pattern in the ring "seen" by neighboring...

Published: 07/08/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

"Chemistry is a highly improbable science," says Graduate Student Mike Deskevich, who adds "It's good for life on Earth that things are so unreactive." For instance, if chemical reactions happened easily and often, oxygen in the air would cause clothing and other flammable materials to burst into flame. In addition to making life difficult, high probability chemistry...

Published: 07/08/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The breakdown of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the stratosphere has been implicated in the destruction of Earth's protective ozone layer. Consequently, scientists have undertaken studies to better understand the structure and behavior of highly reactive, but short-lived, free radicals produced during the breakdown process. The molecules, which contain either fluorine or chlorine, are an...

Published: 07/08/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

A solvent is something that dissolves or disperses something else. It's the water in salt water, the alcohol in cough syrup, the lactates or ethers in inks. For many of us, solvents are the background music of the chemistry taking place all around us. But this isn't how Fellow Carl Lineberger and his colleagues in chemical physics think about solvents. Lineberger, Former Research...

Published: 04/08/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Our lives depend on heme. As part of hemoglobin, it carries oxygen to our tissues. As part of cytochrome c, it helps transform the energy in food into the energy-rich molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that powers biochemical reactions that keep us alive and moving. As part of cytochrome P450, it helps break down toxic chemicals in our bodies.

What is this thing called heme? And...

Published: 02/09/2006 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

One way to understand unstable molecules is to systematically create slightly different versions of a similar stable molecule and investigate each new molecule with identical analysis and experiments. That is exactly what researchers from JILA and CU are doing with a series of ringed molecules. The JILA researchers are Graduate Student Adam Gianola, Postdoctoral Research Associate Takatoshi...

Published: 02/09/2006 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

High-energy radiation is notorious for damaging DNA, primarily by breaking chemical bonds. Damage to DNA can cause mutations, cancer, or even death. Much of this damage is inflicted by secondary, or low-energy, electrons knocked out of atoms in the DNA molecules by radiation. The low-energy electrons get captured by the DNA bases (which make up the letters of the genetic code), temporarily...

Published: 02/09/2006 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Chemical physicists investigate the structure and behavior of atoms and molecules on the quantum level. Such research is particularly challenging when the molecule under investigation appears in small amounts and is rapidly transformed into something else, e.g., during combustion, chemical synthesis, or atmospheric chemical reactions. Happily, Research Associate Feng Dong, Fellow David Nesbitt...

Published: 09/29/2005 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Brad Perkins and his thesis advisor Fellow David Nesbitt recently decided to explore what happens when fast, cold carbon dioxide molecules collide with the surface of an oily liquid (perfluoropolyether). Of course, you can only do these sorts of things in a vacuum chamber, where there are virtually no other gas molecules in the air to get in the way! The vacuum chamber itself creates an...

Published: 09/29/2005 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

RNA molecules can perform amazing biological feats, including storing, transporting, and reading genetic blueprints as well as catalyzing chemical reactions inside living cells. To manage the latter feat, RNA molecules must rapidly fold into an exact three-dimensional (3D) shape. Understanding how RNA accomplishes this is a major scientific challenge. Former JILA postdoc Jose Hodak,...

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