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Terahertz spectroscopy for space applications: 2.5–2.7 THz spectra of HD, H2O...

Drouin, B., S. Yu, J. Pearson, and H. Gupta (2012), Terahertz spectroscopy for space applications: 2.5–2.7 THz spectra of HD, H2O and NH3, Journal of Molecular Structure, 1006, 2-12, doi:10.1016/j.molstruc.2011.05.062.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) a vibrant THz development program supports the construction of
space-based spectroscopic instruments. The recent successes of the Aura’s Microwave Limb Sounder
(0.1–2.5 THz) and Herschel’s Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (0.5–1.9 THz) have demonstrated
the wide range of molecular astro- and geophysics accessible when remote sensing from a space
platform. With access to the THz spectral range these instruments readily observe the rotational spectra
of small molecules, and the laboratory spectroscopy of these molecules is then utilized to convert the
remote observation into physical quantities such as density and temperature. At the JPL millimeter
and submillimeter spectroscopy laboratory we utilize the same technology developed for the space missions
in order to make new or improved spectroscopic measurements that support these remote sensing
objectives. By virtue of the improvements in technology these new measurements often result in
improved structural understanding for the species of interest. We present an overview of the space applications
and report a series of improved measurements in the 2.5–2.7 THz range obtained with our most
recent hardware under development for sub-orbital/orbital astronomy.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)