Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Temple researcher attempting to create cyclic ozone using ultrafast lasers

02.02.2005


If successful, discovery could play an important role in putting a man on Mars

Robert Levis, Ph.D. (center), Director of the Center for Advanced Photonics Research, demonstrates the ultrafast laser beams used to detect the cyclic ozone reaction product. Assisting Levis are (L-R) Alexei Filin, Ph.D.; Ryan Compton; and Matthew Coughlan.

With nearly twice the energy of normal, bent-shaped ozone (O3), cyclic ozone could hold the key component for a future manned-mission to Mars. No one has ever seen-let alone made-cyclic ozone. But that could all change at Temple University’s Center for Advanced Photonics Research, which has been awarded a one-year, $1.25 million grant to develop cyclic ozone by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA).



The research is being carried out under the guidance of Center Director Robert J. Levis, Ph.D., a pioneer in strong field, laser-based chemistry and adaptive photonics. Strong field chemistry uses ultrafast lasers to produce intense laser pulses that create tremendous electric fields around a molecule. This forms-for a brief instant in time-a new molecule that chemically can react in new and unexpected ways. Levis and his group began pioneering this revolutionary technology about a decade ago. "The formation of cyclic ozone is a high-risk project," concedes Levis. "No one has ever taken ozone and made the free cyclic form, where every oxygen atom is bound to every other oxygen atom, making it look like an equilateral triangle. "Nobody knows exactly what the molecule looks like spectroscopically or how to make it," he adds. "And that’s exactly the type of high-risk, high-payoff problem that our laser-based technologies can figure out."

Levis points out that the successful production of cyclic ozone could play an important role in putting a human on Mars because rockets could be able to carry one-third more payload. "The bent form of ozone carries about one-and-a-half volts of energy, while cycle ozone carries about three volts," says Levis. "So there’s no more mass, but you can get much more energy when the cyclic ozone combines with hydrogen and is burned. "This is way-over-the-horizon research," he adds. "But if you can produce cyclic ozone, that might be a key component to interplanetary space exploration."

Because cyclic ozone has never before been characterized, Levis and the Temple researchers-Dmitri Romanov of physics and Spiridoula Matsika of chemistry-are relying exclusively on an evolutionary search strategy theory to help them synthesize the molecule using ultrafast lasers. Researchers from the chemistry and chemical engineering departments at Princeton University and the mathematics department at Yale University have been subcontracted by Levis to assist in the development of the search theory.

The Center for Advanced Photonics Research (www.temple.edu/capr) is focused on developing new science and technologies through intense laser-molecule interactions. The center has three of the most powerful laser systems on the East Coast each with a laser pulse shaping capabilities. Research ranges from probing fundamental physics principles to detecting chemical warfare agents. "One of the aspects that DARPA finds fascinating is that these shaped reagents have what’s called a massive ’search space,’" says Levis. "The ’search space’ is huge, something like 1040 (ten to the fortieth power) possibilities, more than the number of stars in the universe. There are an incredible number of paths we can take to find cyclic ozone and we have to search through them somehow."

Levis equates the size of the search space to the variability in the human genome, composed of four distinct bases strung in a genome containing roughly three billion bases. "That’s four to the three billionth different ways you can arrange those four bases," he says. "And yet, humans have evolved into an extremely complex organism."

The question is how did this organization occur, and Levis answers by saying that evolution, or Mother Nature, has an excellent search strategy. "What we’ve managed to do here at the center is take that evolutionary search strategy and put it into an experimental, chemical situation," he says. "It’s an experimentalist’s dream. We have a target molecule that’s never been made before, and we’re going to try to make it with technology that is right on the horizon, and we’re going to detect it relying on calculations that are state-of-the-art."

Levis says his team, which also includes chemist Herschel Rabitz and chemical engineer Yannis Kevrekidis from Princeton and mathematician Raphy Coiffman from Yale, will be making only a small amount of cyclic ozone, since his laser-rigs would not be capable of mass-producing it. "This laser system will only produce micro-grams, which won’t power the Space Shuttle," he says. "But once we’ve made even a little, other scientists and chemical engineers can study it, learn more about the potential energy surface and chemical reactivity, and possibly find a way to reverse engineer a catalyst to produce it in mass quantities." Preston Moretz, Science Writer, 02.01.05

Preston M. Moretz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.temple.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>