Introductory lecture: advances in ion spectroscopy: from astrophysics to biology.


Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. [Email]


This introduction provides a historical context for the development of ion spectroscopy over the past half century by following the evolution of experimental methods to the present state-of-the-art. Rather than attempt a comprehensive review, we focus on how early work on small ions, carried out with fluorescence, direct absorption, and photoelectron spectroscopy, evolved into powerful technologies that can now address complex chemical problems ranging from catalysis to biophysics. One of these developments is the incorporation of cooling and temperature control to enable the general application of "messenger tagging" vibrational spectroscopy, first carried out using ionized supersonic jets and then with buffer gas cooling in radiofrequency ion traps. Some key advances in the application of time-resolved pump-probe techniques to follow ultrafast dynamics are also discussed, as are significant benchmarks in the refinement of ion mobility to allow spectroscopic investigation of large biopolymers with well-defined shapes. We close with a few remarks on challenges and opportunities to explore molecular level mechanics that drive macroscopic behavior.