Abstract by Chelsea Broadbent
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Supersonic Jet Spectroscopy for the Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of complex molecules common in fossil fuels. Small changes in the position or number of substituents of these molecules can have significant effects on their chemical properties. Due to the structural similarity of many PAHs, a technique with high discriminating power is necessary to differentiate between the various complex compounds and study their composition. Supersonic jet spectroscopy (SJS) coupled with thermal desorption can be used to produce highly resolved spectra for PAH analysis. Previous research has shown that many PAHs require different input wavelengths, and separation of these molecules by thermal desorption will decrease signal congestion and allow each measurement to be taken over a narrower spectral range. Our long term goal is to increase the efficiency of current SJS techniques for the identification of PAHs, reducing the cost necessary for further study and characterization of fossil fuels.