|Professor Beaudet's research interests are in the area of high
resolution molecular spectroscopy, particularly in the microwave and
infrared region. He has made significant contributions to the
determination and the understanding of the molecular structures and
properties of small boron hydrides and carborane molecules from their
microwave rotational spectra. He has also developed laser diode infrared
spectroscopy with a pulsed supersonically cooled slit jet to obtain the
high resolution vibrational-rotational spectra of small van der Waals
molecules such as Ar-CO2, CO2-HBr, NNO-HCl. From this work the
intermolecular forces could be estimated.
Recently his interests have migrated towards practical real world applications of chemistry. He has been involved in life detection missions to Mars, including the sample return missions planned for 2003, 2005, and 2007. In the 2003 and the 2005 missions, Martian soil samples will be collect and stored on Mars. It is critical that the samples are not contaminated by terrestrial residues that might be interpreted as validating the presence of life forms on Mars. In the 2005 mission, the samples will be retrieved and returned to earth. Every safeguard must be taken not to bring back any biological pathogens if there were life forms on Mars. Prof. Beaudet's major involvement is protecting and preventing the cross-contamination of both Earth and Mars. Contamination of Martian soil by terrestrial biological residues would sabotage any future life detection experiments. Also, Martian samples returned to Earth must be treated has highly dangerous microorganisms until proven safe.
Prof. Beaudet is also very involved in issues relating to chemical and biological warfare, including defending against possible terrorist use. He chairs an NRC committee that is overseeing the Army's destruction of the US stockpile of chemical weapons, and that is evaluating alternative methods to incineration for destroying the assembled chemical weapons. An even more challenging problem are finding and properly destroying munitions that were buried during the last century.