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EPSRC Reference: EP/C51212X/1
Title: Towards Spectroscopy of Ultracold Biological Ions: Cryogenic Ion Cooling as a Route to Temperature Controlled Laser Spectroscopy
Principal Investigator: Dessent, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
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Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of York
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 09 June 2005 Ends: 08 December 2008 Value (£): 201,112
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Chemical Biology
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Recent intensive research on the laser spectroscopy of neutral gas-phase biomolecules has yielded a detailed picture of their structures and conformational preferences away from the complications of the bulk environment. In contrast, work on ionic systems has been sparse despite the fact that many important molecular groups are charged under physiological conditions. To address this problem, we will develop an internationally unique laser spectrometer, which incorporates a distinctive electrospray ionisation (ESI) cluster ion source, dedicated to producing biological ions (e.g. ATP, oligonucleotides) and theirmicrosolvated clusters for IR vibrational characterisation. Previous laser spectrometers with ESI sources have suffered from producing hot , congested spectra as the ions were produced with ambient temperatures. This is a particularly serious limitation for spectroscopic studies of biomolecules, since these systems can possess extremely high internal energies as a result of the presence of numerous law frequency modes. We will overcome the problem of ambient ion temperature, and hence significantly improve on current instruments, by exploiting the newly developed physics technique of buffer gas cooling to produce cold ESI molecular ions, allowing us to perform the first detailed spectroscopic interrogations of ESI generated biomolecular ions and clusters.A primary aim will be to perform the first studies using IR vibrational predissociation spectroscopy to characterize the effect of buffer-gas cooling on the spectral properties of conformationally flexible ionic clusters as a basis for future work on related biological ions. Studies will then focus on inorganic anions such as phosphates, sulphates and arsenates which are common charge centres in biomolecular ions. Finally, work will be extended to model biological anions (e.g. ATP) to establish the generality of the buffer gas cooling technique for larger systems. The new instrument will open up a generally applicable methodology for performing high-resolution, temperature controlled, spectroscopy of gas-phase biological ions, with measurements on the corresponding micro-solvated clusters providing details of how the molecules are perturbed by the solvent environment, one solvent molecule at a time.
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Organisation Website: http://www.york.ac.uk