About the Weber Group

Cryogenic Ion Spectroscopy – Pushing gas phase spectroscopy to complex molecules

Building on the successes of gas phase molecular spectroscopy of small molecules, we are pushing towards ever larger and more complex target systems (see list of project areas below) by using electrospray ionization to prepare complex molecules from solutions.

Lock and Key - Molecular Receptors

Together with graduate students Lane Terry and Maddie Klumb, Fellow Mathias Weber studies how ions are selectively bound to molecular receptors.

The Molecule that Makes Jellyfish Glow

The molecule HBDI is the “chromophore” that gives green fluorescent protein in jellyfish its glow. Together with Visiting Fellow Prof. Jan Verlet (Durham University, UK), graduate students Wyatt Zagorec-Marks and Madison Foreman from the Weber Group examined the photophysics of this molecule and found that the environment—down to a single water molecule—surrounding it can greatly influence its behavior.

The Rules of Photon Thunderdome

During upconversion photoluminescence in rubrene, four triplet state ions fight it out to release a single high-energy photon. 

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We are grateful for funding for our research from these agencies

Spectroscopy of Solution Species in Vacuo

Much of the behavior of important molecular species is only known in a condensed phase environment (mostly solutions). Probing the details of molecular properties and molecular interactions in these often very complex environments can be difficult, as the interaction with the solvent changes the properties of the solute and broadens its spectroscopic response. All these effects tend to obscure important details of molecular properties from spectroscopic characterization. The presence of a chemical environment also presents a challenge for computational analysis, since the description of a molecule including its solvation shell(s) is often beyond the reach of high-level quantum chemistry methods, and the use of continuum models is an approximation that ignores important effects such as hydrogen bonding. In order to circumvent many of these problems, we study mass-selected molecular and cluster ions as isolated entities in vacuo.

Learn more about our experimental apparatus, and discover our current work on catalysts, PAH-water clusters, and biochromophores.

High Pressure Response of Materials

Very high pressures (up to tens of GPa) allow access to unconventional thermodynamic parameters, and open avenues to explore new chemical and physical properties of materials. Different from the influence of temperature, pH and chemical composition, which have multiple effects on a system (total energy, volume, covalent bonds), perturbation of molecules and materials by hydrostatic pressure only changes inter- and intramolecular distances. In addition, phase changes can be triggered by increased pressure, leading to materials with new optical and electronic properties.

Learn about our work on perovskites and other materials.

Research Areas

JILA Address

We are located at JILA: A joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Map | JILA Phone: 303-492-7789 | Address: 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309