McCall Research Group Illinois

CH5+ Animation
Simulation of the ground state of CH5+, courtesy of Joel Bowman.

Keeling Curve
Keeling curve compared with fossil fuel emissions, from Scripps.

Projects in the McCall Group

Our group's historical focus is in the area of molecular spectroscopy, especially in plasmas. We have been pioneering ultrasensitive and ultraprecise methods for recording high resolution infrared spectra of molecular ions in laboratory plasmas, and we have been exploiting these methods to study a variety of ions. We are particularly interested in the structure and intramolecular dynamics of non-classical carbocations (such as CH5+, pictured at right), and we have also been studying simpler ions such as H3+, HeH+, and OH+. In addition to the fundamental interest in these ions, they are also very important players in the chemistry of the interstellar medium, and in the context of "laboratory astrochemistry" we aim to provide new and improved laboratory measurements that will enable astronomical study of such ions. A second area of plasma spectroscopy involves the study of laboratory analogs of ball lightning, a rare and poorly understood atmospheric phenomenon.

In recent years, as the impacts of humanity's fossil fuel combustion on Earth's climate have become more clear, and more alarming, we have felt obliged to make some contribution to the area of sustainability. Our efforts to date have focused on improving the sustainability of our own campus, under the aegis of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. This has involved a combination of policy work and programs such as the Illinois Biodiesel Initiative. We are also initiating some applied research projects in this area, and are currently recruiting interested undergraduate and master's students.

More Information

Find more information about projects in the McCall group by entering one of the following sections.

Dye laser


Here you can browse through current molecular spectroscopy experiments being undertaken in the McCall research laboratory.

Ball image


Here you can learn more about the McCall group's efforts in campus sustainability, biodiesel/biosoap production, and applied research projects in sustainability.
Hydrogen plasma

Past Projects

An archive of previous research done in the McCall group.