Dual Affiliation with Geology and Planetary Sciences
Assistant: Ulrika Terrones
Complexity is a hallmark of the natural world. For cosmochemical and geochemical systems this complexity often extends to the molecular level. During the past decade tremendous strides have been made in the chemical sciences as advances in microelectronics, lasers, materials science, etc. have all converged to produce instrumentation of unparalleled speed, sensitivity, and flexibility. For the most part these advances have been driven by technological considerations, but the application of state-of-the-art chemical techniques to astrophysics and to the earth and planetary sciences holds the potential to revolutionize the analysis of complex natural materials.
The Blake group applies innovative spectroscopic tools to investigate the chemical and physical processes that operate in natural environments ranging from the interstellar medium to the heart of living cells. The ultimate goal of this work is a detailed understanding of the evolution of molecular diversity from atoms in the interstellar medium or from simple chemical precursors in laboratory syntheses to complex molecules and aggregates throughout the solar system, in life, and in the devices utilized by man. We carry out both remote sensing and laboratory studies, and we are actively developing new spectrometers across the Terahertz (THz, 30-1000 μm) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with active research in three major scientific areas.