The paper currently holding the top spot for most downloaded paper in the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy is the densely titled "Experimental intensity and lineshape parameters of the oxygen A-band using frequency-stabilized cavity ring-down spectroscopy." A collaborative effort of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology and the Instytut Fizyki at the Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika in Poland, the paper reports some of the most accurate measurements ever made of the properties of oxygen. The data were gathered to support the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a satellite designed to measure the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to be launched in January 2009.
The reference data on the oxygen spectrum will help the satellite measure the pathlength of solar light passing through the Earth's atmosphere, the pressure of the air beneath it, and enable it to detect changes in carbon dioxide concentrations by as little as 1 part in 300. The attempt to make such accurate measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is unprecedented. The information gathered on this mission should bring researchers another step closer to discovering how carbon dioxide influences global warming.
More information on the NASA mission may be seen at http://nasascience.nasa.gov/missions/oco.
The paper "Experimental intensity and lineshape parameters of the oxygen A-band using frequency-stabilized cavity ring-down spectroscopy" is viewable online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jms.2007.10.010.