Welcome to the Maier Group's website!
Our group's goal is to spectroscopically characterize carbon containing radicals and ions. We are able to determine the molecular structure as well as electronic, vibrational and rotational properties of various compounds of chemical, astrophysical and fundamental importance.
Carbon species are astrophysically relevant—in the past 20 years many carbon containing molecules have been identified in comets, interstellar molecular clouds and carbon stars. Of special focus are the Diffuse Interstellar Bands, absorptions in the optical region by molecules in diffuse clouds. Comparison of laboratory and astronomical spectra is the way to identify the carriers, long carbon chains being among the good candidates. Many of these species are also found as combustion intermediates or are involved in chemical processes.
Because of their high reactivity, radicals and ions must be studied in situ. Specifically, they are generated in the gas phase using an electrical discharge of a precursor gas or laser ablating solid sample. An alternative approach is to freeze them in low-temperature inert-gas matrices. Because the concentrations of the species studied are generally low, sensitive detection techniques are utilized which employ high-resolution lasers, mass spectrometry and ion traps. All of these techniques have their own advantages and drawbacks, but combined together they allow us to detect and investigate a wide variety of compounds.
For more information on the various methods employed please refer to the Research Topics section.
Positions are no longer available due to retirement.