Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory
State-of-the-art tunable diode lasers low temperature molecular research facilities
About our research
The physics, astronomy and geophysics department's tunable diode laser spectroscopy laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility. We use tunable lasers to record absorption spectra for molecules of atmospheric interest and of interest to planetary astronomers. Data are recorded digitally. We use an analysis program that was developed by a collaborator in Brussels, Belgium.
Our earlier work was concerned with spectra recorded at approximately room temperature. Several students participated in this work, and many of them were co-authors on papers we published.
View this slide show of highlights of our research, performed in facilities in various parts of the world, where you'll meet some of our former students:
- Ross Gobeille '04, CFP®, CRPC®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner | Advanced Financial Advisor
- Wes McMichael '01, patent attorney
- Noah Kolodjiewski '01
- Kevin Wilkinson '01, a Ph.D. candidate at UNC
- Brian Aeoah '01 financial analyst
- Emma Tang '08, named a 2008 Arthur Ashe sports-scholar
Professor Emeritus Mantz's TDLS International Conference
One of the international conferences students participate in is TDLS, a bi-annual international conference on tunable diode laser spectroscopy, organized by Professor Emeritus Arlan Mantz in collaboration with his Russian colleague, Alexander Nadezhdinskii. In 1998, Professor Mantz took three students to Moscow to present results of their work: Rehman Khan, Sushil Bhattari and Kevin Wilkinson. In 2001, Ross Gobeille '04 participated in the TDLS conference in Zermatt, Switzerland, where the 2009 TDLS conference again took place.
Since 1995, the focus of our research has been directed toward the study of molecules in vapor form, but at very low temperatures — approaching 10 Kelvins. We have been developing absorption cells with fixed absorption paths of 1 to 40 centimeters, and recently we developed a Herriott type all-copper cell with absorption paths of 5 to 10 meters in a base length of 14 centimeters. We are currently working on designs for longer absorption paths. All the cells we use have temperature uniformities of better that 0.01 Kelvin and temperature stability, via active temperature stabilization, of better than 0.01 Kelvin at all temperatures between 300 and 10 Kelvin. Students are also involved in these activities. The cells are designed, fabricated by our machine shop, and tested on campus. Then usually we ship the systems to Paris where we test them on a very stable diode laser system at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie where we have another collaboration.
Amrita Gupta '06 and Emma Tang '08 both spent time there during summer measurement programs. The slide show photo shows Emma after we recorded our first successful 5 meter spectrum at low temperature. Sometimes working at low temperatures is a chilling experience!
The atmospheres of the outer planets in our solar system are quite cold, and we have support from several NASA grants to provide laboratory data for use in the analysis of their planetary data.
The majority of our recording of spectra is done in collaboration with three groups:
- The NASA supported work is generally done in collaboration with scientists from the College of William and Mary as well as a scientist from NASA Langley, VA.
- The data are collected using very high resolution Michelson Interferometers at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and occasionally at other national facilities in the United States.
- We also collaborate with scientists at the Laborarory of Applied and Atmospheric Molecular Physics (LPMAA) at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris. The majority of the work done in Paris is tunable diode laser based research; however, we are exploring the possibility of expanding our work to include the use of interferometers in the LPMAA group in Paris.
Current students are involved in experiments intended to extend the workable absorption paths of our cold Herriott cells into the tens of meter range. Ben Landau-Taylor '10 and Stephen Wolff were involved in this project over one summer.
Dr. Michael Monce, Department Chair
Box 5553, Dept. of Physics, Astronomy and Geophysics
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320