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Title: Condensed-phase applications of cavity-based spectroscopic techniques
Author: Neil, Simon R. T.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis describes the development and application of condensed-phase cavity-based spectroscopic techniques - namely cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS); cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS); broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (BBCEAS) and evanescent wave (EW) variants of all three. The recently-developed cavity technique of EW-broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (EW-BBCEAS) has been used—in combination with a supercontinuum source (SC) and a sensitive, fast readout CCD detector—to record of the full visible spectrum (400–700 nm) of a silica-liquid interfacial layer (with an effective thickness ca. 1 µm), at rapid acquisition rates (> 600 Hz) that are sufficient to follow fast kinetics in the condensed phase, in real time. The sensitivity achieved (Amin= 3.9 x 10-5) is comparable with previous EW-CRDS and EW-CEAS studies, but the spectral region accessed in this broadband variant is much larger. The study of liquid|air interfaces using EW cavity-based techniques is also illustrated for the first time. The first application of BBCEAS to the analysis of microfluidic samples, flowing through a microfluidic chip, is illustrated. Proof-of-principle experiments are presented, demonstrating the technique’s ability to provide full visible broadband spectral measurements of flowing microfluidic droplets, with both high detection sensitivity (αmin < 10-2 cm-1) and excellent spatial and temporal resolution: an SC light source and sensitive, fast readout CCD allowed measurement repetition rates of 273 Hz, whilst probing a very small sample volume (ca. 90 nL). A significant portion of this thesis is devoted to demonstrating the powerful capabilities of CEAS, CRDS and BBCEAS in monitoring radical recombination reactions and associated magnetic field effects (MFEs) in solution. The efficacy of CEAS as a high-sensitivity MFE detection method has been established in a proof-of-principle study, using narrow band CEAS in combination with phase-sensitive detection: MFE-induced absorbance changes of ca. 10-6 could be detected using the modulated CEAS technique and the data are shown to be superior to those obtained using conventional transient absorption (TA) methods typically employed for MFE measurements. The powerful capabilities of CRDS in monitoring radical recombination reactions and associated MFEs are also demonstrated. In particular, a pump-probe CRDS variant allows not only high sensitivity (Amin on the order 10-6), but also sub-microsecond time-resolution. Combined, these features represent significant advantages over TA. Finally, SC-BBCEAS is used to measure full visible spectra of photoinduced reactions and their MFEs. The applicability of this approach to in vitro MFE studies of Drosophila cryptochrome is demonstrated—the results mark the first in vitro observation of a magnetic field response in an animal cryptochrome, a key result supporting the hypothesis that cryptochromes are involved in the magnetic sense in animals.
Supervisor: Mackenzie, Stuart R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical Sciences ; Biophysical chemistry ; Laser Spectroscopy ; Photochemistry and reaction dynamics ; Physical & theoretical chemistry ; cavity enhanced spectroscopy ; cavity ring-down spectroscopy ; magnetic field effect ; avian magnetoreception ; broadband cavity enhanced spectroscopy ; evanescent wave