The Dibble group investigates chemistry of the atmosphere, combustion, and irradiation, focusing on atmospheric chemistry. A current focus is atmospheric mercury, but we have long been involved in studying the reaction pathways of organic radicals in the lower atmosphere, in the context of formation of photochemical smog and the global oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere. We have active projects investigating the use of electron beams to generate commodity chemicals from CO2 and combustion chemistry of biofuels.
Experimental studies employ both lasers and standard analytical instruments. Lasers are used to probe for radicals and other reactive species. Both reaction kinetics and the spectroscopy of new species are studied using laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) and cavity ringdown spectroscopy. We are using MS, GC-MS, and MALDI-TOF-MS to analyze stable reaction products. Our computational investigations are used predict the properties of compounds that might never have been seen in experiments. We also compute rate constants of individual reactions and model reaction systems of up to hundreds of compounds. Computations are carried out on local computers and NSF-supported High Performance Computing resources.