DC Baltimore

Baltimore-Washington Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy

November Historical Events in Spectroscopy by Leopold May, Catholic University

December Historical Events in Spectroscopy by Leopold May, Catholic University

Next Meeting - December 16, 1999

Speaker: Dr. Edgar Etz, Analytical Microscopy Research Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Location: Ristorante Tartufo, 9021 Gaither Road (at the intersection of Shady Grove Road and Gaither Road), Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Highlights from the November SAS Meeting

Dr. Suenram gave a fascinating talk describing the evolution of FTMW spectroscopy and detailing many recent applications, including the characterization of chemical warefare agents. Below are a few photographs from the meeting.

November Meeting Notice - Thursday, November 4, 1999 (Downloadable meeting notice PDF here)

Fourier Transform Microwave Spectroscopy: Historical Perspectives and the Evolution Toward an Analytical Technique.

In 1981 the late Willis H. Flygare and his group of graduate students and post doctoral associates developed a new microwave spectroscopic technique that revitalized the field of rotational spectroscopy. The new technique involved the used of a tunable Fabry-Perot microwave cavity in conjunction with a pulsed molecular beam valve and pulsed microwave radiation. The technique has evolved into what is now known as Fourier Transform Microwave (FTMW) spectroscopy. As it was initially introduced, it proved to be a powerful technique for studying the rotational spectra of hydrogen bonded dimers and van der Waals complexes. This trend continued throughout the 1980's as more and more research laboratories around the world constructed this type of instrument. It is estimated that today there are approximately 30 laboratories that have one or more of these instruments in use. The first NIST instrument was constructed in 1985 and was used to study a number of van der Waals complexes as well as hydrogen bonded dimers and trimers. More recently the emphasis at NIST has shifted toward the analysis and characterization of larger organic monomers with molecular weights in the 100 to 200 amu range. The 1K temperature of the molecular beam greatly simplifies the spectra of these compounds and permits their analysis. Over time, many changes have been made in the instrument resulting in dramatic improvements in overall sensitivity of the technique as well as greatly improved ease of use. In the early 1990's it became clear that this technique could offer some advantages to the analytical chemistry community as a new spectroscopic technique for trace gas analysis. Several laboratories have begun to address this issue. In the presentation, general historical perspectives will be given, in addition to describing details of the development of an analytical prototype FTMW spectrometer at NIST.

Dr. Richard Suenram is the Group Leader of the Spectroscopic Applications Group, Optical Technology Division, Physics Laboratory at NIST where he has worked since 1975. He has received the Bronze Medal Award from the US Department of Commerce for his contributions to the spectroscopic sciences. Prior to joining NIST, Dr. Suenram was employed in industry by Rohm and Haas. He has a Ph.D. and MS in Physical Chemistry, from the University of Kansas (Lawrence) and the University of Wisconsin (Madison), respectively. His research interests are in the areas of hydrogen-bonded and van der Waals complexes, atmospheric molecules, reaction mechanisms, and conformational equilibria of large organic compounds using Fourier Transform microwave (FTMW) spectroscopic techniques. He has also extensively used FTMW spectroscopy for trace gas analysis. Currently, Dr. Suenram is developing new terahertz instrumentation and methods for studying ro-vibrational spectra of molecules in this region.

Your Baltimore-Washington Section Officers for 1999-2000:

Chair: Larry Pollack, Defense Threat Reduction Agency/US DoD (703) 810-4351, larry.pollack@dtra.mil
Chairman Elect: John S. Canham, NASA-Goddard 301-286-8970, john.s.canham.1@gsfc.nasa.gov
Secretary: Dave Hill, USDA, 301-504-8282, hill@307.bhnrc.usda.gov
Treasurer: Jeb Taylor, FDA, 301-827-5246, TAYLORJ@cder.fda.gov
Delegates: Scott Baker, USDA and Mike Epstein, NIST
Newsletter Editor: Kris Patterson, USDA, 301-504-9010, Fax: 301-504-9062, patterson@307.bhnrc.usda.gov
Science Fair and Student Award Committee: Bob Koons, FBI, 703-640-1538
I.L. Barnes Award: John Moody
Web page editor: Mike Epstein

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Visit our local section sponsor WWW pages:

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Past Issues of the Baltimore-Washington Section Newsletter (including Historical Events in Chemistry for those months)

March 1999
April-May 1999
Summer 1999
September 1999
October 1999

Spectrum Go to the National SAS Home Page

For more information concerning Baltimore-Washington Section activities, email Larry Pollack (larry.pollack@dtra.mil)

Page prepared by: Mike Epstein
Last Modified: November 8, 1999