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Keuka College News

Compounding Results

One week of experiments at the MAX II synchrotron facility at the University of Lund in Sweden, followed by two years of calculating and writing.

And now, it’s just a matter of weeks before the results paper, for which Professor of Chemistry and Physics Tom Carroll served as lead author, is published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

“The research that we did is known as X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy at High Resolution,” said Carroll, who conducted the research (and authored the article) with Darrah Thomas, Leif Saethre and Knut Borve.

At the facility, “there are 10 or 12 research groups at a time, each assigned to a beam line,” explained Carroll. “High intensity, high resolution x-rays probe into electronic structures in great detail.”

According to Carroll, his team looked at eight different compounds or classes of compounds.

“Compounds are used in everyday lab work and this is basic research that relates to chemical properties,” said Carroll, whose team focused on fluoromethylbenzenes.

The title of the paper of is “Additivity of Substituent Effects, Core-ionization Energies and Proton Affinities of the Fluoromethylbenzenes.”

“This research is not totally isolated from the real world,” said Carroll, who noted that xylenes are methylbenzenes and are used in gasoline.

As the lead author, Carroll was responsible for theoretical analysis and computer calculations utilizing Gaussian™ quantum mechanical programs to “model measurements.”

“I did some of the calculations at Oregon State University (OSU) and was able to do a few of them here since getting the necessary software and dual processor through Title III grant funding,” said Carroll, who has been teaming with the same scientists for years.

Carroll completed his post-doctoral research appointment with Thomas at OSU in 1974 and refers to Thomas as the “Godfather” of this research. He is also the author to whom inquiries regarding the paper are sent. Saethre served as the “lead experimentalist.”

In addition to the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Carroll has published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of American Chemical Society, and Journal of Electron Spectroscopy.

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