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  1. First measurements of internal quantum-state distributions for nitric oxide (NO) evaporating from liquid benzyl alcohol are presented over a broad range of temperatures, performed by liquid-microjet techniques in an essentially collision-free regime, with rotational/spin–orbit populations in the 2 Π 1/2,3/2 manifolds measured by laser-induced fluorescence. The observed rotational distributions exhibit highly linear (i.e., thermal) Boltzmann plots but notably reflect rotational temperatures ( T rot ) as much as 30 K lower than the liquid temperature ( T jet ). A comparable lack of equilibrium behavior is also noted in the electronic degrees of freedom but with populations corresponding to spin–orbit temperatures ( T SO ) consistently higher than T rot by ∼15 K. These results unambiguously demonstrate evaporation into a non-equilibrium distribution, which, by detailed-balance considerations, predict quantum-state-dependent sticking coefficients for incident collisions of NO at the gas–liquid interface. Comparison and parallels with previous experimental studies of NO thermal desorption and molecular-beam scattering in other systems are discussed, which suggests the emergence of a self-consistent picture for the non-equilibrium dynamics. 
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  5. Abstract Rapid testing is essential to fighting pandemics such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Exhaled human breath contains multiple volatile molecules providing powerful potential for non-invasive diagnosis of diverse medical conditions. We investigated breath detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection using cavity-enhanced direct frequency comb spectroscopy (CE-DFCS), a state-of-the-art laser spectroscopic technique capable of a real-time massive collection of broadband molecular absorption features at ro-vibrational quantum state resolution and at parts-per-trillion volume detection sensitivity. Using a total of 170 individual breath samples (83 positive and 87 negative with SARS-CoV-2 based on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests), we report excellent discrimination capability for SARS-CoV-2 infection with an area under the receiver-operating-characteristics curve of 0.849(4). Our results support the development of CE-DFCS as an alternative, rapid, non-invasive test for COVID-19 and highlight its remarkable potential for optical diagnoses of diverse biological conditions and disease states. 
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  7. First, high-resolution sub-Doppler infrared spectroscopic results for cyclopentyl radical (C 5 H 9 ) are reported on the α-CH stretch fundamental with suppression of spectral congestion achieved by adiabatic cooling to T rot ≈ 19(4) K in a slit jet expansion. Surprisingly, cyclopentyl radical exhibits a rotationally assignable infrared spectrum, despite 3N − 6 = 36 vibrational modes and an upper vibrational state density (ρ ≈ 40–90 #/cm −1 ) in the critical regime (ρ ≈ 100 #/cm −1 ) necessary for onset of intramolecular vibrational relaxation (IVR) dynamics. Such high-resolution data for cyclopentyl radical permit detailed fits to a rigid-rotor asymmetric top Hamiltonian, initial structural information for ground and vibrationally excited states, and opportunities for detailed comparison with theoretical predictions. Specifically, high level ab initio calculations at the coupled-cluster singles, doubles, and perturbative triples (CCSD(T))/ANO0, 1 level are used to calculate an out-of-plane bending potential, which reveals a C 2 symmetry double minimum 1D energy surface over a C 2v transition state. The inversion barrier [V barrier ≈ 3.7(1) kcal/mol] is much larger than the effective moment of inertia for out-of-plane bending, resulting in localization of the cyclopentyl wavefunction near its C 2 symmetry equilibrium geometry and tunneling splittings for the ground state too small (<1 MHz) to be resolved under sub-Doppler slit jet conditions. The persistence of fully resolved high-resolution infrared spectroscopy for such large cyclic polyatomic radicals at high vibrational state densities suggests a “deceleration” of IVR for a cycloalkane ring topology, much as low frequency torsion/methyl rotation degrees of freedom have demonstrated a corresponding “acceleration” of IVR processes in linear hydrocarbons. 
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  8. High-resolution direct absorption infrared spectra of metastable cis-formic acid (HCOOH) trapped in a cis-well resonance behind a 15 kcal/mol barrier are reported for the first time, with the energetically unstable conformer produced in a supersonic slit plasma expansion of trans-formic acid/H 2 mixtures. We present a detailed high-resolution rovibrational analysis for cis-formic acid species in the OH stretch ( ν 1 ) fundamental, providing first precision vibrational band origin, rotational constants, and term values, which in conjunction with ab initio calculations at the couple-cluster with single, double, and perturbative triple [CCSD(T)]/ANOn (n = 0, 1, 2) level support the experimental assignments and establish critical points on the potential energy surface for internal rotor trans-to-cis isomerization. Relative intensities for a- and b-type transitions observed in the spectra permit the transition dipole moment components to be determined in the body fixed frame and prove to be in good agreement with ab initio CCSD(T) theoretical estimates but in poor agreement with simple bond-dipole predictions. The observed signal dependence on H 2 in the discharge suggests the presence of a novel H atom radical chemical mechanism for strongly endothermic “up-hill” internal rotor isomerization between trans- and cis-formic acid conformers. 
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