Connor Wright

Graduate Student

Emory University

Office: 131 Atwood Hall

1515 Dickey Drive

Atlanta, GA 30322-2210

phone: 404-727-6573

fax: 404-727-6586

cjwrig3@emory.edu


Educational Background

B.S. in Chemistry, minor in Physics from Berry College (2017)
Graduate student in Chemistry at Emory University

Current Research

My current research focuses on small radicals and ions of astrochemical interest. In the interstellar medium (ISM), cosmic-rays readily ionize atomic hydrogen and form H3+. H3+ is an important protonation source and thus produces protonated species via ion-molecular reactions. Many protonated species, for example N2H+ and HCO+, have strong transitions in the mm-submm wavelength range and play important roles in both observational astronomy and astrochemical reaction networks. In addition to protonated species, radicals are also important in both gas-phase chemistry and gas-grain chemistry. Some of these (i.e. methoxy) have been detected in space.

The goal of my project is to prepare these unstable species in terrestrial conditions through high-voltage discharge of the appropriate precursor molecules and then characterize their rotational spectra using mm-submm spectroscopy. The spectra taken in our lab are directly comparable to astronomical observations, which are especially valuable for potential detection of these species in space. From spectroscopic data, it is also possible to retrieve benchmark structural/chemical information of the target molecules, which sometimes are challenging systems for theory.

The experimental techniques I apply are jet-cooled expansion discharge for the production of rotationally cooled ions and radicals, and liquid nitrogen cooled hollow cathode for the production of smaller protonated species. Multipass optical alignment is sometimes employed to increase sensitivity.

Outside of chemistry, I enjoy musical theatre (watching and performing) and spending time with my fiance, cat, and dog.