Have you ever wondered what it would be like to view the different phases of chemical reactions on the smallest atomic level? How much more could we discover about atoms and chemical compounds if we could study their reactions on the smallest possible level and capture the phases of the process as it happens?

time-resolved spectroscopyTechnology like that would have to be able to capture images of those processes and changes in the smallest fractions of a second so that we could see the changes that those materials in the reactions go through.  All of this is possible through the process of time-resolved spectroscopy. Consider the use of time-resolved spectroscopy in physics and physical chemistry.

What is Spectroscopy?

Spectroscopy is best defined as the study of the specific interactions that happen between matter when it is excited by electromagnetic radiation.

What is Time-Resolved Spectroscopy?

Time-resolved spectroscopy is defined as the study of the dynamic processes and changes that occur to chemical compounds and materials, as made possible by spectroscopy. Most of the time, the studies of these processes are made when the illumination of the chemical compound or materials occur. In general, though, this process can be used with any process that involves the fundamental changing and transition of a material or chemical compound.

This type of spectroscopy uses the aid of pulsed lasers to incite a reaction or change in the matter or material that is being studied, and also to capture the images of what the material looks like as it is going through changes.

In a controlled environment, the chemical reactions are started with an initial pulse, and the compound is further excited by a probing pulse. During this time, we can study the changes of the molecules that occur on a time scale as short as 10 to the -16 power of a second.

Applications to Physics and Physical Chemistry

This is an exciting process and way to study molecules but what are some of the applications that time-resolved spectroscopy has in physics and physical chemistry?

The primary application that it has to physics is that this process lets us study, in detail, the dynamic kinetic processes that happen on virtually the smallest viewable time scales. With this process, we can observe things like

– the intermediate states that happen within a chemical reaction

– small changes in energy that we couldn’t usually see with time-resolved spectroscopy

– the transfer of electrons during chemical changes

– thermal changes in the material or compound

– fluorescence and phosphorescence processes that occur during these changes

This process and technology give us a deeper view into what happens during these small chemical changes, by giving us control of the time and technology that we use to incite and view these reactions.

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