David L. Osborn

Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
Combustion Research Facility, Combustion Chemistry

Short Bio

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of unimolecular and bimolecular chemical reactions.  To obtain the greatest level of detail, we study these reactions in the gas phase using powerful tools such as time-resolved infrared spectroscopy (TR-FTIR) and multiplexed photoionization mass spectrometry (MPIMS).  Much of this work uses tunable vacuum ultraviolet radiation produced by synchrotron light sources.  These techniques probe a wide range of reactants, intermediates, and products simultaneously, providing a global view of a chemical reaction.

The rate coefficients and product branching ratios from kinetics work, or the quantum state product distributions from dynamics experiments, provide insight into the shape and energetics of the potential energy surface that ultimately controls a chemical reaction.  By defining and constraining the mechanisms of chemical reactions, we provide both specific reaction data for predictive chemical models, and general tests of theoretical approaches that can be applied to reactions where experiments are too difficult to perform.

Accurate, predictive models of combustion and atmospheric chemistry are critical to our national and international interests, impacting, for example, tools to lower pollutant emissions from automobiles and policies to promote a more sustainable environment.

Research Interests

Gas phase chemical dynamics and kinetics, photodissociation dynamics, time-resolved photoionization mass spectrometry, combustion chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, science education.

Education & Appointments

  • 2013 – Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Combustion Research Facility
  • 2004 – 2013 Principal Member of Technical Staff, Combustion Research Facility
  • 1999 – 2004 Senior Member of Technical Staff, Combustion Research Facility
  • 1997 – 1998 Post-doctoral research, JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, Advisor:  Prof. Stephen R. Leone
  • 1991 – 1996  Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Supervisor:  Prof. Daniel M. Neumark
  • Thesis:  Photodissociation Dynamics and Spectroscopy of Free Radical Combustion Intermediates
  • 1987 – 1991  S. B. Chemistry, University of Chicago, Advisor:  Prof. Donald H. Levy

Awards, Honors and Memberships

  • David Shirley Award for Outstanding Science  at the ALS, 2012
  • JILA Visiting Fellowship, April – September, 2010
  • O. W. Adams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Combustion Science, 2010
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (NIST/JILA), 1997 – 1999
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, 1991-1994

Selected Publications & Patents

Direct measurements of conformer-dependent reactivity of the Criegee intermediate CH3CHOO
C. A. Taatjes, O. Welz, A. J. Eskola, J. D. Savee, A. M. Scheer, D. E. Shallcross, B. Rotavera, E. P. F. Lee, J. M. Dyke, D. K. W. Mol, D. L. Osborn, and C. J. Percival, Science 340, 177 (2013).

Phototautomerization of Acetaldehyde to Vinyl Alcohol:  A Primary Process in UV-Irradiated Acetaldehyde from 295 to 335 nm
A. E. Clubb, M. J. T. Jordan, S. H. Kable, and D. L. Osborn, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 3, 3522 (2012).

New mechanistic insights to the O(3P) + propene reaction from multiplexed photoionization mass spectrometry
J. D. Savee, O. Welz, C. A. Taatjes, and D. L. Osborn, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 14, 10410 (2012).

Direct kinetic measurements of the Criegee intermediate (CH2OO) formed by reaction of CH2I with O2
O. Welz, J. D. Savee, D. L. Osborn, S. S. Vasu, C. J. Percival, D. E. Shallcross, and C. A. Taatjes,Science 335, 204 (2012).

Near-threshold H/D exchange in CD3CHO photodissociation
B. R. Heazlewood, A. T. Maccarone, D. U. Andrews, D. L. Osborn, L. B. Harding, S. J. Klippenstein, M. J. T. Jordan, and S. H. Kable, Nature Chemistry 3, 443 (2011).

Roaming is the dominant mechanism for molecular products in acetaldehyde photodissociation
B.R. Heazlewood, M.J.T. Jordan, S.H. Kable, T.M. Selby, D.L. Osborn, B. C. Shepler, B.J. Braams, and J.M. Bowman, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 12719 (2008).

Imaging combustion chemistry via multiplexed synchrotron-photoionization mass spectrometry
C. A. Taatjes, N. Hansen, D. L. Osborn, K. Koehse-Hoinghaus, T. A. Cool, P. R. Westmoreland,Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 10, 20 (2008).

The multiplexed chemical kinetic photoionization mass spectrometer:  a new approach to isomer-resolved chemical kinetics
D. L. Osborn, P. Zou, H. Johnsen, C. C. Hayden, C. A. Taatjes, V. D. Knyazev, S. W. North, D. S. Peterka, M. Ahmed, and S. R. Leone, Review of Scientific Instruments 79, 104103 (2008).

Measurement of the sixth overtone band of nitric oxide, and its dipole moment function, using cavity-enhanced frequency modulation spectroscopy
J. Bood, A. McIlroy, and D. L. Osborn, Journal of Chemical Physics 124, 084311 (2006).

On the mechanism of the HCCO + O2 reaction: Probing multiple pathways to a single product channel
P. Zou and D. L. Osborn, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 6, 1697 (2004).

Photodissociation spectroscopy and dynamics of CH3O and CD3O
D. L. Osborn, D. J. Leahy, and D. M. Neumark, Journal of Physical Chemistry A 101, 6583 (1997).

Photodissociation spectroscopy and dynamics of the HCCO free radical
D. L. Osborn, H. Choi, D. H. Mordaunt, R. T. Bise, D. M. Neumark, and C. M. Rohlfing, Journal of Chemical Physics 106, 10087 (1997).

Fast beam photodissociation spectroscopy and dynamics of the vinoxy radical
D. L. Osborn, H. Choi, D. H. Mordaunt, R. T. Bise, D. M. Neumark, and C. M. Rohlfing, Journal of Chemical Physics 106, 3049 (1997).

Vibrational predissociation and intramolecular vibrational relaxation in dimethyl-s-tetrazine–argon complexes
D. L. Osborn, J. C. Alfano, N. van Dantzig, and D. H. Levy, Journal of Chemical Physics 97, 2276 (1992).


Sandia National Laboratories
California P.O. Box 969
Livermore, CA 94551-0969
Work Phone: (925) 294-4622
Work Email: dlosbor@sandia.gov