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Generation and spectroscopic characterization of new transient phosphorus-containing species


This project concerns the detection and identification of novel transient phosphorus-bearing molecules in the gas phase via high-resolution infrared diode laser spectroscopy. The species to be studied are small molecules with bonds between phosphorus and oxygen and/or nitrogen atoms such as PO3, H2POt PN2 or P2N.Phosphorus oxides and sub-oxides have a rich and complex chemistry that has not yet been fully characterized, and data on the analogous nitrogen-containing compounds will allow comparisons to be made between the different species. Furthermore, the study of, new phosphorus molecules is relevant for astrophysical research. Laboratory data is essential to guide efficient searches for phosphorus species in space, of which only two have been detected, so far. High-resolution infrared laser absorption spectroscopy has proved to be a very successful technique for investigating transient molecules due to its sensitivity. Its combination with discharge flow methods or molecular beams has led to the efficient generation of many phosphorus species and their subsequent characterization through the analysis of their infrared spectra. In addition, several instrumentation developments are proposed in order to achieve even higher sensitivity. These include the implementation of cavity ring-down spectroscopy in the infrared frequency region making use of the latest generation of semiconductor diodes as radiation sources. Joining the Cambridge laboratory would represent an excellent opportunity to learn infrared laser spectroscopy, a technique complementary to microwave spectroscopy, with which the applicant has a proven track record. Different infrared spectrometers, combining features such as molecular bearos, pyrolysis or electric discharges, can be used at the host group, providing a complete view of the state of the art infrared laser spectroscopy. The requested training will be of high benefit for the applicant, who will then be able to combine different spectroscopic techniques in order to obtain more complete information on novel molecular systems and a better determination of their chemical and physical properties. The host group will benefit immediately from the applicant's expertise in high-resolution spectroscopy, and in particular, its application to the identification and analysis of high resolution infrared spectra.


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University of Cambridge
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Lensfield Road
CB2 1EW Cambridge
United Kingdom

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