Millimeter Wave and Microwave Instrumental Development for Analytical and Astrochemical Applications

Steber, Amanda, Chemistry - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Pate, Brooks, Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia

Advances in digital electronics have allowed several fields to upgrade their existing instrumentation. These upgrades allow for more sensitive and rapid data acquisition. Taking advantage of these faster and in some cases cheaper electronics, new instrumentation in the millimeter wave and microwave regime have been developed and are presented in this thesis. A chirped pulse-Fourier transform millimeter wave spectrometer operating between 260-295 GHz was developed for the purpose of analytical and astrochemical applications. This instrument was further refined with the addition of a pulsed discharge nozzle to measure reactive species at these frequencies using the segmented chirped pulse-Fourier transform millimeter wave technique. Both instruments have the ability for high sensitivity measurements and improvements in speed of acquisition and automation have been implemented.
Besides the chirped pulse-Fourier transform millimeter wave instrument, cost reduction of both the millimeter wave instrument and current microwave instruments was investigated in this thesis. Many of the expensive digital electronics were replaced with monolithic microwave integrated circuits, and the performance of these instruments was investigated both at 260-295 GHz and 18-26 GHz. The applications of these instruments, for both analytical techniques and astrochemistry, are a main theme throughout this thesis. By applying these instruments towards the problems facing both fields, and by developing new strategies for astrochemical analysis, a new and better understanding of the complex chemistry occurring in the interstellar medium and terrestrially will evolve.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Rotational Spectroscopy, Instrumental Development, Interstellar Medium
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