Edgar Bright Wilson Pioneer In Microwave Spectroscopy

Edgar Bright Wilson – pioneer in microwave spectroscopy

Article On Edgar Bright Wilson

Biography & Contributions

Edgar Bright Wilson was an American chemist born on December 18, 1908 – died on July 12, 1992. Wilson was the pioneer in study of molecules through spectroscopy.

Wilson received many notable awards and medals like ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in the year of 1937, Peter Debye Award in the year of 1962, National Medal of Science in the year of 1975, Welch Award in the year of 1978, Willard Gibbs Award in the year of 1979, Elliott Cresson Medal in the year of 1982.

Wilson made major contributions to the field of molecular spectroscopy. He developed the first rigorous quantum mechanical Hamiltonian in internal coordinates for a polyatomic molecule. He developed the theory of how rotational spectra are influenced by centrifugal distortion during rotation. He pioneered the use of group theory for the analysis and simplification normal mode analysis, particularly for high symmetry molecules, such as benzene.

Wilson was a pioneer in the application of microwave spectroscopy to the determination of molecular structure. Wilson wrote an influential introductory text Introduction to Scientific Research that provided an introduction of all the steps of scientific research. He and his students were also developing the theory for the quantitative study of internal motions of molecules. His experimental work then was the innovative use of infra-red spectroscopy.

GF Method

GF Method is a classical mechanical method introduced by E. Bright Wilson to obtain certain internal coordinates for a vibrating semi-rigid molecule, the so-called normal coordinates Qk. In Wilson's GF method it is assumed that the molecular kinetic energy consists only of harmonic vibrations of the atoms, i.e., overall rotational and translational energy is ignored.

Infrared spectroscopy

Infrared spectroscopy / IR spectroscopy is the spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum that is light with a longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light. It covers a range of techniques, mostly based on absorption spectroscopy.

Infrared spectroscopy exploits the fact that molecules absorb specific frequencies that are characteristic of their structure. Infrared spectroscopy is a simple and reliable technique widely used in both organic and inorganic chemistry, in research and industry. It is used in quality control, dynamic measurement, and monitoring applications such as the long-term unattended measurement of CO2 concentrations in greenhouses and growth chambers by infrared gas analyzers. It is also used in forensic analysis in both criminal and civil cases, for example in identifying polymer degradation. Infrared spectroscopy can be used in determining the blood alcohol content of a suspected drunk driver. Infrared spectroscopy is also useful in measuring the degree of polymerization in polymer manufacture.

Rotational Spectroscopy

Rotational spectroscopy is concerned with the measurement of the energies of transitions between quantized rotational states of molecules in the gas phase. Rotational spectroscopy is sometimes referred to as pure rotational spectroscopy to distinguish it from rotational-vibrational spectroscopy where changes in rotational energy occur together with changes in vibrational energy, and also from ro-vibronic spectroscopy where rotational, vibrational and electronic energy changes occur simultaneously.

Rotational spectroscopy has primarily been used to investigate fundamental aspects of molecular physics. It is a uniquely precise tool for the determination of molecular structure in gas phase molecules. It can be used to establish barriers to internal rotation such as that associated with the rotation of the CH3 group relative to the C6H4Cl group in chlorotoluene (C7H7Cl).

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