Wolfgang Jäger Physical Chemistry

Spectroscopist who combines physics and chemistry to help understand the dynamic characteristics of molecules

The Story

Dr Jäger analyzes the forces which act between molecules to cause them to combine, bend, stretch and rotate within compounds. To examine this, he and his team built a Fourier transform microwave spectrometer, a highly sensitive device which measures the rotational spectra of gas phase molecules and molecular complexes with great accuracy. With this device, Jäger and his team are able to view the spectral emissions of small molecular clusters and learn more about the way the molecules rotate relative to each other. Analysis of these data require such high computer power that Dr Jäger's lab uses a Beowulf cluster - 20 linked PCs which still can take months or years to create an image of the molecule.

Additional projects include:

  • developing sensors for atmospheric pollutants such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) or sulfur dioxide (SO2) for the Canadian Institute for Photonics Innovations (CIPI)
  • co-planning construction of a far-infrared spectroscope with Canadian Light Source (CLS) in Saskatoon.
In the near future, Dr Jäger plans to build a new machine, one of only a few in the world and the first in Canada, to conduct research using Helium Nanodroplet Isolation (HENDI) Spectroscopy, the study of molecules suspended in hypercooled helium. This will allow the analysis of larger clusters of molecules and lead to greater understanding of how molecules behave when in solution.

Sources: Dr Jäger's lab; NSERC news release, March 5, 2002. Photo: Dr Jäger's website.

The Person

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Alberta
  • PhD, Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany
  • Steacie Fellowship (NSERC), 2002
Last Updated
March 14, 2002

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