Current Work

Anise with the structure of anethole superimposed.
Anise in bloom. Image kindly borrowed from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

May 2013

It's a SEEDy month! The SEED program was feature in Technical.ly/philly and our PChem video was highlighted! Super sweet! We also received word that our second SEED grant was accepted! Kathleen Howard and I will be putting together an online placment exam for general chemistry. This exam shoud help cut down the pressure on incoming students and decrease the paperwork that we normally have to plow through before classes.

March 2013

We've been busy lately! Over winter break, I spent a week in the lab of Timothy Zwier, taking SVLF spectra of anethole. We recorded the spectrum of nearly 20 different transitions! We were even able to record the SVLF spectra for, what we assume are, anethole:water clusters! Tori has started plowing through the mountains of data, trying to assign some of our spectra. Anethole appears to show similar behavior to styrene, specifically with regards to Duschinsky mixing of the out-of-plane modes.

The valve flange was repaired and the our instrument is back into production as well! Tori is currently working to prove that we are indeed seeing anethole:water clusters in the jet.

I received student feedback on the PChem lab videos used in Chem 44 (Quantum) and it seems they were very well received by the students. I'm currently using the calorimetry videos for Chem 45 (Thermo) and I'm hearing some very positive feedback.

November 2012

We survived Superstorm Sandy and nor'easter Athena relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, we broke a screw in the valve flange and can no longer make a vacuum tight seal! We've got the flange into the machine shop and hopefully we can get it fixed soon. In the mean time, we'll be spend some time working on calculations for anethole/water clusters and attempting some bulb fluorescence studies. Never a boring day in the lab!

September 2012

Tori is continuing her analysis of the excitation spectrum of anethole, while using all the computational resourses I can give her. She'll be starting spectral work on water clusters of anethole soon!

August 2012

After making a trip to Purdue University, I've secured instrument time in the Zwier Lab, over the winter holiday. I'm hoping we can get dispersed fluorescence data on what we have tenatively assigned as torsional levels. This should help the thickness of the thesis that Tori has decided to write. :-D

The PChem prelab videos are complete! Whew! A big thanks to Mike Bednarz (Media Services), Zein Nakhoda ('13), and Virginia Heck (Chemistry) for all their great work!

Want to see the videos? Contact Prof. Newby.

August 2012

Tori and Maddy have spent the summer working on the jet-cooled electronic spectroscopy of anethole. They have recorded and begun assigning the fluorescence excitation spectrum. They identified two electronic origin transitions and have also recored the dispersed fluorescence of these two transitions. Ab intio calculations are in progress to learn more about the torsional behavior of the methoxy and methyl-vinyl groups.

July 2012

Good news everyone! My proposal was accepted by GridChem! The group now has 30,000 hours of supercomputer time!

June 2012

Victoria Barber ('13) and Maddy Amodio ('14) have joined the group! They get to look forward to a summer of laser and licorice. :-)

Spring 2012

It took some time and reading, but I've got the lab ready to take data. I've got the laser system tweaked up to ~0.3mJ from R610. It's not much, but I've doubled it and the autotracker is following it. I was able to find the origin transitions of anethole after a bit of searching. I'm going to start my students out taking fluorescence spectra of anethole. Hopefully there's some good spectroscopy to be found. It'll be fun at any rate, the lab already has the fragrance of licorice!

My proposal for Summer Educational eProject Development (SEED) support was accepted! I'll be working with Media Services to create digital prelab videos for the PChem labs. We'll be tackling HCl/DCl spectroscopy and Calorimetry in our videos. This is going to be a busy summer!

Fall 2012

Oh my. What have I gotten myself into?! Just kidding. I'm actually loving my new job!