Our group is interested in using high-resolution laser spectroscopic techniques to study a wide range of atmospheric processes. 

In one set of studies, we measure rate coefficients of vibrational energy transfer processes that are responsible for cooling in planetary upper atmospheres. The most important mechanisms involve energy transfer between hyperthermal oxygen atoms and a small molecule such as carbon dioxide, ozone, or water. Accurate rate parameters for the energy exchange are important for interpreting satellite data, particularly those studying the upper atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars.These measurements provide crucial input parameters for climate models and can be helpful for long-term global climate tracking.

We are also interested in studying collisions between hydrocarbon species and oxygen atoms at high velocities. While these reactions are important in combustion chemistry, we are primarily interested in them as they pertain to the impact of space vehicles or space debris in low Earth orbit. We are exploring how the product channels of these reactions change with impact velocity. 

Finally, we are interested in measuring air quality around areas of acid mine drainage in central Pennsylvania. In particular, we're interested in gas phase sulfur species and improving our ability to measure their concentrations quantitatively in the field using laser-based techniques.  

Additional Information

Karen Castle
Associate Professor of Chemistry


317 Rooke Chemistry Bldg
P: 570.577.3092