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 New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>