A-to-Z Index

JMU Regional Undergradaute Laser Facility

beamsplitter filters laswer student
Points of Contact: Benjamin DeGraff

Lasers are an essential part of our modern society.  They are components of home electronics, manufacturing equipment, surgical procedures, atmospheric monitoring devices, and also are a key piece of technology for chemical research.  Lasers have transformed modern chemistry.  Currently, chemists are able to use lasers to initiate, control, and watch chemical reactions on a scale that was unimaginable 50 years ago.  James Madison University has a large laser spectroscopy laboratory that distinguishes it from other primarily undergraduate institutions.  Researchers are able to utilize the Facility’s holdings to perform an abundance of interdisciplinary scientific research.

The JMU Regional Undergraduate Laser Facility has grown through many years of support from the National Science Foundation.  Holdings include Nd/YAG, Nitrogen, helium/neon, argon ion, and diode lasers.  The facility is also equipped with an array of diagnostic tools for laser spectroscopy including an Agilent Infinium 1 GHz digital oscilloscope, five 25 MHz to 400 MHz digital oscilloscopes, a Jarrell-Ash ½ meter scanning monochromator, a CVI digital monochromator, and a Princeton instrument silicon detector array.  On-going research with tools in this facility include the synthesis and characterization of luminescent transition metal complexes for use as molecular probes or reporters.

Most recently the laser facility has received support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the James Madison University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a Research Corporation Department Development Award.  New acquisitions include a variety of tunable single-mode diode lasers including a 775 nm New Focus Velocity laser and five NTT:NEL distributed feedback diode lasers for gas sensing of O2, H2O, CO2, and CH4.  Additional diagnostic tools in 2010-2011 will include a Bristol Instruments NIR ±60 MHz wavemeter, a Stanford Research Systems 100 kHz spectrum analyzer, and a temperature-stabilized etalon.  Emerging research on precision lineshape measurements, gas-sensing of atmospherically relevant small molecules, and optical properties of particulate matter is now underway in the JMU Regional Undergraduate Laser Facility using photoacoustic spectroscopy and cavity ring-down spectroscopy.