Researcher and Postdoctoral fellow in Honolulu, Hawaii
Young researcher Sándor Góbi currently works for the Reaction Dynamics Group of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as a postdoctoral fellow. He focuses primarily on the decomposition of organic compounds on Mars using photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS) with vacuum UV photons produced by laser four-wave mixing.
After attaining his degree in Chemistry specialised in molecular structure research in 2008 at the Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary, he was a PhD student in Chemistry, supervised by György Tarczay at the Laboratory of Molecular Spectroscopy in the same institute. He investigated small flexible organic molecules at low temperature and high vacuum in solid noble gas matrices (called matrix isolation or MI method) accompanied by quantum chemical calculations. A novel method was introduced in order to estimate the reliability of calculated signs, and it was pointed out that this definition can greatly help assign the spectra, therefore in the determination of the molecular structure.
While he completed and defended his dissertation, he worked as a Research Assistant in the Astrophysical and Geochemical Laboratory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences under the direction of Ákos Kereszturi. Meanwhile, he took part in active international collaborations with the Laboratory Astrophysics Group in Jena, Germany led by Dr. Cornelia Jäger and the PLANETO group in Grenoble, France led by Eric Quirico. The main joint research activities were MI-IR and -UV spectroscopy of interstellar carbonaceous dust analogues produced by laser ablation. Besides this, other projects focused on the determination of water content of aqueously altered CM2 meteorites with IR spectroscopy; and on the kinetics of reactions in astrophysical environment: decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in martian interfacial water.
He started his current postdoctoral work last June and is interested in the decomposition of amino acid glycine in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions in the presence of perchlorate anions. The latter are an abundant oxidiser in the Martian regolith and this work can help understand the lack of organics on Martian surface. The exact decomposition pathways of pure glycine and perchlorate samples and glycine in the presence of perchlorates have also been identified by means of PI-ReTOF-MS spectrometry in a separate set of experiments.