Alicia O. Hernandez-Castillo
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
B.S. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
PhD, Purdue University
My group uses broadband microwave spectroscopy to understand intermolecular interactions; that is, the way two molecules “touch” one another. These interactions are of importance in understanding a wide range of chemically relevant processes, including solvation effects, molecular recognition, and molecular aggregation. In order to characterize these interactions, we record high-resolution rotational spectra from which we can accurately experimentally determine bond-angles and bond-lengths of each of the individual molecules. Moreover, these spectra are exquisitely sensitive to the positions and orientations of the two molecules relative to each other. Thus, we can unambiguously distinguish between binding arrangements and understand how the targeted molecules interact with one another. In addition, we can use the observed intensity ratios of the rotational transitions to determine the isomeric fractional abundances in cases where more than one binding arrangement is possible. We are a new group, and we are in the process of building a modern spectrometer from the ground up. You can follow our adventures on Twitter at Broadband Microwave Spectroscopy @HMC-MolSpecGroup.