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  1. 1D potential along the ring puckering coordinate of cyclobutyl radical represents a double minimum well with a shallow barrier. The equilibrium structure is predicted to be a puckered geometry while the transition state reflects a planar geometry.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 24, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 21, 2024
  3. 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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  4. Ergodicity, the central tenet of statistical mechanics, requires an isolated system to explore all available phase space constrained by energy and symmetry. Mechanisms for violating ergodicity are of interest for probing nonequilibrium matter and protecting quantum coherence in complex systems. Polyatomic molecules have long served as a platform for probing ergodicity breaking in vibrational energy transport. Here, we report the observation of rotational ergodicity breaking in an unprecedentedly large molecule,12C60, determined from its icosahedral rovibrational fine structure. The ergodicity breaking occurs well below the vibrational ergodicity threshold and exhibits multiple transitions between ergodic and nonergodic regimes with increasing angular momentum. These peculiar dynamics result from the molecule’s distinctive combination of symmetry, size, and rigidity, highlighting its relevance to emergent phenomena in mesoscopic quantum systems.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 18, 2024
  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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