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Laser Spectroscopy Lab
Laser-based instruments for optical spectroscopy provide new and exciting experiences for students in undergraduate physical chemistry and analytical chemistry courses. Current projects are incorporating miniature pulsed Nd:YAG and dye lasers into several experiments designed to illustrate key features of molecular structure and dynamics. Students will use lasers to record spectra with much higher resolution than is offered by traditional spectroscopic instruments. Fine structure observed in laser-based spectra will reveal couplings between molecular motions that students often struggle to visualize. Time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence studies will illustrate the competition between radiative and non-radiative relaxation mechanisms. Multi-photon excitation and resonance ionization spectroscopy using short pulses will introduce fast electro-optic technology into physical and analytical chemistry courses. Laser Raman spectroscopy will complement existing NMR, GC/MS, and FTIR capabilities for chemical identification in synthesis courses.
Students engaged in undergraduate research will gain hands-on experience with individual hardware components in modular instrument configurations. The presence of modern spectroscopy in the undergraduate curriculum will strongly enhance student preparation for advanced-degree programs in chemistry, medicine, and engineering.