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2002 Magazine

Researchers Get Clearer View of Earth's Atmosphere --- From the Laboratory

For scientists who want to discern the complex chemistry at work in Earth's atmosphere, detecting a particular gas molecule can be as hard as finding a proverbial needle in a haystack. Frank De Lucia, professor of physics, and his colleagues recently used their FAST Scan Submillimeter Spectroscopy Technique (FASSST) to make the job easier. The technique offers a way for scientists to examine the spectrum of light given off by a molecule. Each molecule has its own one-of-a-kind spectral pattern, like lines in a bar code. FASSST takes a snapshot of a wide range of spectral wavelengths, so scientists can easily recognize the pattern of the molecule they are looking for. Experiments that have traditionally taken weeks or months can be completed in a few seconds. For the complete story, see

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