Robertson - Optical spectroscopy of atmospheric and biological molecules
Dr Evan Robertson
Senior Lecturer, College of Science, Health and Engineering
There is more to light than meets the eye. Light with wavelengths invisible to human sight but detected by sophisticated instruments called spectrometers provide us with a detailed view of the "nanoscopic" molecular world that underpins daily life.
We exploit powerful light sources such as infrared, visible and ultraviolet lasers, or the Australian Synchrotron's infrared beamline, to study molecules relevant to pharmaceutics, atmospheric and aerosol chemistry and even the interstellar medium. This type of molecular sensing can reveal the shape of neurotransmitter molecules that act as the 'key' in receptor 'locks' involved with signaling in the brain; the details of how much radiant heat is absorbed by greenhouse gases; the size and temperature of ice nanoparticles like those in high altitude clouds; or the spectral fingerprint patterns that allow molecules in space to be identified through radioastronomy. Research is supported by ARC grants, the Australian Synchrotron and National Computing Infrastructure.