John Sterling Winn

Academic Appointments

Professor of Chemistry Emeritus

Our research centers around the information on molecular structure and dynamics that can be attained from high resolution spectroscopy using matrix isolation spectroscopy. We have recently completed the design and construction of a new apparatus for studying species trapped in a solid hydrogen matrix at temperatures as low as 2 K. Solid hydrogen is a novel matrix material (a so-called "quantum solid") that has attracted much attention recently. The low mass and weak attraction hydrogen has makes its solid phase rather special: it has a very low density and very open structure. Moreover, the inability of hydrogen to quickly relax its first excited rotational state to its ground state (because such a relaxation requires a nuclear spin flip as well as a rotational motion energy loss) means there are effectively two types of hydrogens: those in the lowest rotational state (J = 0 or para-hydrogen, pH2) and those in the first-excited (J = 1 or ortho-hydrogen, oH2) state. (At these low temperatures, these are the only two states that matter.)

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HB 6128


  • S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley

Selected Publications

  • Infrared Spectra of OCS Monomer and Clusters in Solid Parahydrogen, J. Chem. Phys., in preparation (with B. B. Smith and R. Ditchfield).

  • Novel Preparation and Characterization of Doped Parahydrogen Solids, Rev. Sci. Inst., in preparation (with B. B. Smith).

  • Selecting Exciting Topics for Students of Twenty-First Century Physical Chemistry (为21世纪的学生选择有趣的物理化学 课题), Proceedings of the 2nd University Fundamental Courses Forum on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Wuhan, China (Higher Education Press, China, 2007).

  • Lineshape Analysis of CO in Kr and Xe Matrices (with P. Hu), Phys. Chem. Letters, in preparation.

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Works In Progress

“Lineshape Analysis of CO in Kr and Xe Matrices;” “Synthesis and31P NMR Analysis of a Platinum Acrylonitrile Complex: An Advanced, Integrated Laboratory Experiment”; further theoretical analysis and stimulation of high-resolution infrared spectral data on lineshapes of CO trapped in solid Kr and Ar matrices; design of new apparatus that will allow us to extend our work on low temperature spectroscopy to the quantum solids neon and hydrogen