With support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Multiuser program (CRIF:MU), the Department of Chemistry at Brigham Young University will acquire two optical parametric oscillator (OPO) laser systems for a new shared laser facility. The laser systems will be used by chemistry department researchers (faculty, graduate and undergraduate researchers) to study a number of problems in the chemical sciences. These include: (1) photochemical dynamics of organometallic species and retinal; (2) the gas-phase structure and bonding of supramolecular ions; (3) gas-phase radical kinetics via cavity ring-down spectroscopy; and (4) ro-vibrational energy transfer in gas-phase species. The laser systems will be used by large numbers of undergraduate and graduate students, both in research as well as in the laboratory curriculum. Access to the instrument will be widened, via a university program aimed at high school students from underrepresented groups. High school students in the outreach program will visit the laboratory as a part of an enrichment program, and some students will use the equipment in collaboration with BYU undergraduate and graduate student researchers.
Pulsed laser systems, like the one purchased under this award, allow chemists to probe matter in interesting ways. Chemical reactions and molecular processes (e.g. collisional exchange of energy) can be studied with collision-by-collision detail. With this level of detail, chemists can build physical models to describe chemical and molecular events which can be generalized to as-yet-unstudied chemical systems. The infrastructure made available with this grant will be used in teaching and training a broad range of young scientists, in important, cutting-edge, experimental methods.