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History

The Atomic, Molecular and Laser Plasma Physics group has a history in the area of atomic, molecular and ionic spectroscopy dating back to the late 19th century to the pioneering work of Thomas Preston on the Anomalous Zeeman effect.

In 1897 Preston’s discovered splitting in the spectral lines of cadmium and zinc which could not be explained by the pre-quantum radiation theory.A complete theoretical description of the phenomenon behind the Anomalous Zeeman Effect was achieved following the development of Quantum Mechanics. It is interesting to speculate if is premature death would denied him consideration for the Noble Prize.  His magnets (right) are currently on display here in the school of physics.

In the late 1930s, Thomas Nevin identified a septet-septet molecular transition, the most complex transition array ever analysed.

In the 1960s and 70s, Sé O’Connor identified molecular hydrides in spectra of solar corona.

Kevin Carroll , professor emeritus at the School of Physics, was one of the foremost molecular spectroscopists of his era and worked closely with Nobel prize winners Gerhard Hertzberg and Robert Mulliken. The focus of his research was molecular nitrogen and he was awarded the Boyle Medal in 1988.

Kevin Carroll , Eugene Kennedy, and Gerry O’Sullivan were the first to develop laser-produced plasmas as continuum sources using rare earth elements as targets.