Researchers get clearer view of Earths atmosphere --- from the laboratory
For scientists who want to discern the complex chemistry at work in Earths atmosphere, detecting a particular gas molecule can be as hard as finding a proverbial needle in a haystack.
Frank De Lucia, professor of physics at Ohio State University , and his colleagues recently used their FAST Scan Submillimeter Spectroscopy Technique (FASSST) to make the job easier.
The technique offers a way for scientists to examine the spectrum of light given off by a molecule. Each molecule has its own one-of-a-kind spectral pattern, like lines in a bar code. FASSST takes a snapshot of a wide range of spectral wavelengths, so scientists can easily recognize the pattern of the molecule they are looking for. Experiments that have traditionally taken weeks or months can be completed in a few seconds.
At the 60th International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy, hosted by Ohio State University , De Lucia and doctoral student Andrey Meshkov reported that the FASSST technique can be used to help scientists remove the signals from molecules that interfere with studies of gas systems such as Earths atmosphere.
De Lucia used the example of a problem common to his collaborators at NASA: satellite measurements of chemicals involved in the creation or destruction of ozone.
“Say youre trying to look though the atmosphere to see small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. You have to understand how the signal from the hydrogen peroxide changes as it travels through the atmosphere to a satellite,” he said. “The path that the signal follows can be thousands of kilometers long, so you have to be able to subtract out the part of the atmosphere that you dont care about to get at the really small effects that you do care about.”
The background signal from other molecules that scientists are not interested in -- frequently molecules of water, oxygen, or nitrogen -- is called the continuum. FASSST lets scientists get a handle on the continuum signal by essentially freezing an atmosphere in time so scientists can remove the parts they dont want.
In their latest results reported at the symposium, De Lucia and Meshkov used FASSST to simultaneously measure the contributions of water, oxygen, and nitrogen to the continuum in an experimental gas mixture they created in the laboratory.
De Lucia said his colleagues at NASA and elsewhere can use experimental data from FASSST to better interpret satellite data and reduce error in their measurements.
The same technique aids detection of chemicals in the lab in general. Several of the presentations at the symposium are based on FASSST analyses of chemicals important to research in astronomy and biology.
Frank De Lucia | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...