Charles Alcock, Director
Atomic and Molecular Physics
Quantitative information about atomic and molecular processes required for interpreting astronomical observations is obtained from combinations of laboratory and theoretical studies. Laboratory research includes centimeter-wave through ultraviolet spectroscopy of non- terrestrial molecules. Fundamental precision measurements to test time-reversal symmetry- violating phenomena and searches for dark matter are pursued. The application of the laser frequency comb to astrophysical measurements has been developed and is being refined as is a solar telescope for characterizing the effects of stellar magnetic activity on searches for exoplanets. Measurements of trace gases (primarily atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases) and other atmospheric constituents are made from satellite-based spectrometers operating in the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared.
Theoretical research with applications to astrophysics includes calculations of atomic and molecular structure, cross-sections for recombination and molecular collisional processes, photoionization, photodissociation, charge transfer, and the interactions between matter and anti-matter. These studies are used in the Division to explain the characteristics of X rays stemming from interactions of comets with the flux of ions and electrons streaming from the Sun (the solar wind), to examine the distributions of energetic atoms in atmospheres of the terrestrial planets, to develop new radiative transfer tools for the modeling of planetary atmospheres, and to measure and model photochemistry and pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere. Results from these theoretical calculations are also used to simulate atmospheric observations of terrestrial exoplanets, in preparation for observations of their atmospheric properties with future ground-based and space-borne facilities. AMP is a worldwide center for the development and archiving of fundamental spectroscopic parameters of molecular gases. These data are employed for calculations of transmittance and radiance for the Earth’s atmosphere and for astrophysics. The Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and situated in the AMP division, has now been in existence for more than 25 years. The main goals of the Institute are to educate both students and postdoctoral fellows in theoretical AMO Physics, to maintain a world-class visitor program, and to organize and support workshops in forefront areas of AMO Physics research.
Babb, James F., Physicist. A.B. (1982) Oberlin College; M.S. (1986), Ph.D. (1988) New York University. Research specialties: Applications of atomic and molecular physics to astrophysics and atmospheric physics; molecular structure; long-range forces. Contact: JBabb@cfa.harvard.edu
Chance, Kelly V., Senior Physicist;. B.S. (1970) University of Hawaii; A.M. (1972), Ph.D. (1977) Harvard University. Research specialties: Molecular spectroscopy, structure, and dynamics and their application to atmospheric studies; laboratory spectroscopy and satellite-based measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere, particularly of atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases; atmospheric composition and radiative transfer. Contact: KChance@cfa.harvard.edu
Gonzalez Abad, Gonzalo, Physicist, B.S. (2008) University of Valencia, Ph.D. (2011) University of York. Research specialties: Space-based measurements of Earth's atmosphere trace gases, air quality, radiative transfer and instrument calibration. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon, Youli E., Physicist. Diploma. (1999) Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; MSc (2001) University of Toronto, Ph.D. (2006) University of Waterloo. Research specialties: Spectroscopy of molecules of atmospheric and astrophysical interest, Development and management of spectroscopic databases (HITRAN and HITEMP). Contact: email@example.com
Lopez-Morales, M. Mercedes, Astrophysicist. B.S. (1996) Universidad de La Laguna, Spain; M.S. (2001), Ph.D. (2004) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Research specialties: Exoplanet detection and characterization; exoplanet atmospheres; terrestrial exoplanet bio-signatures; low-mass stars. Contact: MLopez-Morales@cfa.harvard.edu
Liu, Xiong, Research Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. B.S. (1995) Nankai University; M.A. (1998) Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; M.S. (2002) University of Alabama in Huntsville; Ph.D. (2002) University of Alabama in Huntsville. Research specialties: Remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, and clouds; Atmospheric radiative transfer modeling and instrument calibration; Tropospheric chemistry studies integrating satellite measurements, chemical transport models, and in situ observations. Contact: XLiu@cfa.harvard.edu
McCarthy, Michael C., Senior Physicist; Associate Director, Atomic and Molecular Physics Division. B.Sc. (1986) University of Alaska; Ph.D. (1992) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Research specialties: Astrochemistry; laboratory astrophysics of reactive molecules; microwave and laser spectroscopy. Contact: MMcCarthy@cfa.harvard.edu
Nowlan, Caroline R., Physicist. B.Sc. (1999) Mount Allison University; M.Sc. (2000), Ph.D. (2006) University of Toronto. Research specialties: Atmospheric remote sensing; space and airborne instrumentation for atmospheric measurements; radiative transfer; retrieval theory; air quality; atmospheric chemistry and composition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phillips, David Forrest, Physicist. B.S. (1988) California Institute of Technology; Ph.D. (1996) Harvard University. Research specialties: Development and applications of atomic clocks; precise tests of fundamental physical laws; quantum optics. Contact: DPhillips@cfa.harvard.edu
Sadeghpour, Hossein R., ITAMP Director. B.S. (1981), M.S. (1983), Ph.D. (1990) Louisiana State University. Research specialties: Atomic and molecular collisions and spectroscopy; formation and collision of cold antihydrogen and protonic atoms, quantum mechanical interference effects; rydberg collisions; absorption and scattering of light for astrophysical applications, recombination and reionization, and two-photon processes, coherent control and manipulation on the nanoscale, coherent light interaction with nanotubes, ultracold collision of dipolar systems. Contact: HSadeghpour@cfa.harvard.edu
Wang, Huiqun (Helen), Physicist. B.S. (1997) University of Science and Technology of China; Ph.D. (2004) California Institute of Technology. Research specialties: Martian atmosphere data analysis and numerical modeling; Martian dust storms and clouds; Atmospheric trace gasses. Contact: Hwang@cfa.harvard.edu
Affiliated Research Staff
Martin, Randall V., Research Associate, Dalhousie University. B.A. (1996) Cornell University; M.Sc. (1998) Oxford University; M.S. (2001), Ph.D. (2002) Harvard University. Research specialties: atmospheric chemistry; satellite remote sensing; global modelling of atmospheric composition.
Rothman, Laurence S., Senior Physicist. B.S. (1961) Massachusetts Institute of Technology; A.M. (1964), Ph.D. (1971) Boston University. Research specialties: Molecular spectroscopy; HITRAN (high-resolution transmission) spectroscopic database compilation. Contact: LRothman@cfa.harvard.edu