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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Laser Spectroscopy of Next-Generation Propellants

Location

Space Vehicles Directorate, RV/Chemistry and Chemical Tech-Kirtland AFB

RO# Location
13.40.09.B7485 Kirtland Air Force Base, NM 871175776

Advisers

Name E-mail Phone
Annesley, Christopher Christopher.Annesley.1@us.af.mil 505.846.1042

Description

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.

 

Keywords:
Lasers; Spectroscopy; Mass spectrometry; Propulsion; Computational chemistry; Spacecraft;

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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