MRI: Acquisition of a Femtosecond Mid-Infrared Spectrometer
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, the Chemistry Department at The University of Idaho will acquire a femtosecond mid-IR spectrometer. The instrument will have core components that are common in many types of ultrafast spectroscopic measurements. It will implement design features that will ease the transition between different experimental configurations, so that a wide array of experiments can be accommodated. Initially, the PIs are planning four very different experiments. Fast events in RNA folding will be studied using coherent two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy (2D-IR). 2D-IR will also be used to distinguish equilibrium from resonance structures in homoaromatic molecules. The instrument will be used to characterize the migration of mid-IR photons by scattering media. The ultrafast IR transient absorption spectroscopy of nitrosyl compounds subsequent to laser photolysis will also be investigated.
A femtosecond mid-IR spectrometer is an ultra fast spectrometer that operates in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Advances in ultrafast laser technology have made the use of sub-100 femtosecond laser pulses more routine. As the field continues to grow, the significance of molecular phenomena on time scales of picoseconds and shorter is being realized. Arguably, some of the most fundamental processes in chemistry (e.g., bond breaking and formation, electron transfer, and others) occur on ultrafast time scales. This acquisition will exploit the extreme versatility of the instrument in the growing field of ultrafast spectroscopy. The instrument is part of a program to develop a strong ultrafast spectroscopic capability to stimulate a number of research programs as well as to provide a base for collaborations with colleagues at national labs and universities in the Northwest. A number of collaborations with researchers from around the Northwest who are interested in using the instrument have been initiated. As an educational institution, all aspects of the work will be performed by graduate students, select undergraduates, and postdocs as part of their academic experience. This will provide a rich training experience in the growing field of ultrafast methodology.