Most stable main group molecules have closed valence shells and no unpaired electrons. This type of molecule is important but relatively boring. Boring because we understand the behavior of such molecules so well that we can accurately predict the electronic and geometric sturcture of most light closed-shell compounds. We have been driven to study the chemistry of systems that are not so simple. We are interested in molecules that have high electronic spin. We are interested in molecules that have open valence shells, particularly if open d-shell electrons are involved. We are intrigued by molecules bound by metallic or electrostatic bonds, as these are more exotic than typical covalent bonds.
We have chosen a primarily experimental tactic in the studying these systems of interest. We use high resolution spectroscopy, supersonic molecular beams, and mass spectrometry to probe the intimate details of cluster ions isolated in the gas phase and cooled to almost absolute zero in temperature. We analyse optical spectra to reveal the electronic and geometric of model molecular systems in ground and excited states.