Industrial problem: Development fundamental and use of state-of-the-art extremely sensitive chemical analysis tools. Together let’s develop instruments to detect compounds one billionth of a gram!
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The Dearden group’s research centers on the development and use of state-of-the-art, extremely sensitive chemical analysis tools. The instrument we work with, a Fourier transform mass spectrometer (FTMS), weighs molecules with accuracies of about one part per million, and can distinguish between molecules with similar weights better than any other available technique. With this kind of accuracy, merely weighing a molecule is usually enough to unambiguously identify it, and this can be done with samples whose total mass is less than one billionth of a gram. Further, because the instrument “levitates” and traps molecules in a strong magnetic field, it serves as a sophisticated “test tube” in which we can carry out and study complex reactions with these tiny quantities of material. Read more