Description of Radboud University

Stichting Katholieke Universiteit is the legal entity of Radboud University (RU), within RU the Institute of Molecules and Materials has excellent and unique spectroscopic facilities (NMR, High Field Magnet, Scanning probe laboratory, Molecular and Laser spectroscopy), strong interaction between physicists and chemists, and between theoretical and experimental groups, and a large degree of collaboration at international level. The IMM maintains a running budget of about 20 M€ and has 50 scientific staff members, around 30 postdocs and 115 PhD students, and 50 supporting staff members. The IMM aims to be one of the top institutes in Europe in this field of science. It offers extensive training programme to its junior researchers, organising symposia, lecture series and meetings on a wide variety of topical subjects. The IMM was recently granted 26 M€ to develop a brand new laser spectroscopic facility, which will serve as an international user facility.

Within the IMM the Department of Molecular and Laser Physics uses advanced laser- and mass spectroscopic methods for chemical sensing. These include photo-acoustic frequency modulation, and cavity ring down spectroscopy, while within mass spectrometry proton transfer reactions (PTR-MS) and proton transfer ion traps (PIT-MS) are used. Currently, the laser-based trace gas analysis methods are based on mid-IR optical parametric oscillators (OPO) and quantum cascade lasers (QCL). The latest solid-state laser and optical fibre technology is exploited to extend the capabilities of existing OPOs and QCLs and matching detection methods to retrieve and computer-analyse trace gas concentration data within seconds. The laser-based analytical instruments operate in the 2.5-10 µm wavelength range with maximum coverage of the molecular fingerprint region and superior wavelength agility (tens of thousands of distinct wavelengths per second). The latter will enable rapid and accurate examination of complex gas mixtures, such as human breath.