SBIR Phase II: Development of a commercial two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectrometer for characterization of chemical systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$497K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Kapteyn-murnane Laboratories Inc.
4775 Walnut St Suite 102
Boulder, CO 80301
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is to develop a prototype for a commercial two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectrometer and its associated mid-infrared laser system. One of the most exciting developments in the field of ultrafast spectroscopy in the last decade has been the invention of 2D IR spectroscopy. It is now being used to study problems in material science, chemical dynamics, electron transfer, biophysics, polymer structure, solar energy, analytical diagnostics and others. But while it is now recognized as a valuable research tool, it is difficult to implement since it is only being utilized by a relatively small group of ultrafast spectroscopists that specialize in infrared spectroscopy. The research objectives of this project are to design and develop a 2D IR spectrometer, including an efficient mid-infrared laser source, which requires no technical skills to operate. It will utilize mid-infrared pulse shaping, a newly designed optical parametric amplifier, and a mid-IR pump laser. The system will be mechanically robust and computer automated so that it will be used by 2D IR experts and non-experts alike. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of a commercial 2D IR spectrometer that will be used in academic, government, and industrial research laboratories worldwide with applications spanning the biological, chemical and physical sciences. 2D IR spectroscopy provides structural and dynamical information that is difficult to obtain with other techniques, such as at inorganic/organic interfaces that are important in solar cell research or membrane proteins associated with pharmaceutical targets. There are more than 15,000 research laboratories worldwide that utilize infrared spectroscopy of some type, and 2000 labs that utilize ultrafast spectroscopy. Thus, the commercial potential is substantial. The development of this laser technology has important societal implications due to the wide range of scientific and industrial topics that this technology can be applied.