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RAP opportunity at Air Force Science and Technology Fellowship Program     AF STFP

Ion Molecule Chemistry for Propulsion Applications


Space Vehicles Directorate, RV/Chemistry and Chemical Tech-Kirtland AFB

opportunity location
13.40.09.C0422 Kirtland Air Force Base, NM 871175776


name email phone
Shaun Gerald Ard 505-853-3254


Development of advanced propulsion for both terrestrial and orbital applications requires detailed knowledge of a host of chemical processes. For example, oxidation of highly desirable energetic materials such as aluminum and boron clusters limits their applicability as rocket and jet fuel additives.  Broader chemical understanding of ionic propulsion technologies, both those currently employed as well as those in development, will lead to increased efficiency and capability of orbital maneuvering. Detailed kinetics of fundamental bond activation will inform efforts in developing cheap and efficient catalysts for both fuel production and monopropellant applications. This laboratory studies gas phase ion molecule chemistry specifically to address these issues, as well as other areas of Air Force interest. We employ state of the art gas phase experiments, combined with quantum chemical calculations and statistical modelling to elucidate the key kinetic parameters for a wide range of reactions. 

1.            Sweeny, B. C.; McDonald, D. C.; Poutsma, J. C.; Ard, S. G.; Viggiano, A. A.; Shuman, N. S. Redefining the Mechanism of O2 Etching of Aln– Superatoms: An Early Barrier Controls Reactivity, Analogous to Surface Oxidation. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2020, 11, 217-220.

2.            Shuman, N. S.; Ard, S. G.; Sweeny, B. C.; Pan, H.; Viggiano, A. A.; Keyes, N. R.; Guo, H.; Owen, C. J.; Armentrout, P. B. Au2+ cannot catalyze conversion of methane to ethene at low temperature. Catal. Sci. Technol. 2019, 9, 2767-2780.

3.            Xie, C.; Liu, X.; Sweeny, B. C.; Miller, T. M.; Ard, S. G.; Shuman, N. S.; Viggiano, A. A.; Guo, H. Probing the rate-determining region of the potential energy surface for a prototypical ion-molecule reaction. Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 2018, 376.

key words
Kinetics; Gas Phase; Ion; Cluster; Reactivity


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$95,000.00 $5,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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