Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Laser Spectroscopy of Next-Generation Propellants
Space Vehicles Directorate, RV/Chemistry and Chemical Tech-Kirtland AFB
||Kirtland Air Force Base, NM 871175776
Our research centers on the chemistry of space vehicles: the reactions involved in hypergolic ignition and the subsequent interactions between the thruster plume and the near-space environment. We are currently interested in the spectroscopy, structure, and reactivity of novel ionic liquid propellants, which are being pursued as a next-generation, “green” alternative to the toxic hydrazine-based systems currently in use. Ultraviolet spectroscopy of gas-phase ionic liquid ion pairs in a supersonic jet provides optical signatures of these new compounds. Infrared spectroscopy identifies distinctive molecular vibrations, which are compared to vibrational frequencies calculated using standard computational chemistry methods. This comparison allows us to determine the ion pair structures present in the experiment, as well as to rigorously test the methods of theory employed. We are also developing an instrument which will use electrospray to transfer clusters of ionic liquids into the gas phase, where they will be stored in a cold ion trap for studies of their spectroscopy and hypergolic reactions.
Lasers; Spectroscopy; Mass spectrometry; Propulsion; Computational chemistry; Spacecraft;
Open to U.S. citizens
Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants