Angewandte Chemie - front cover

My art work is on the cover of "Angewandte Chemie" (2009 International Edition: published online Oct 6, DOI: 10.1002/anie.200905074). I worked closely with Carl Lineberger (at JILA) and Takatoshi Ichino (at University of Texas) in designing the cover image. It is my first cover for this international journal.

Cover and article description:
"Photodetachment of the oxyallyl radical anion leads to formation of the oxyallyl diradical, an elusive transient molecule involved in many organic reactions. As described by W. C. Lineberger et al. in their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.200904417), the photoelectron spectrum reveals that the oxyallyl ground state is singlet and the lowest triplet state is only 55 meV higher in energy. The spectral profile indicates that the planar singlet state is the transition state for ring opening of cyclopropanone, while the C-C-C bending motion is activated upon photodetachment to the triplet state."

I want to especially thank Carl Lineberger and Takatoshi Ichino for entrusting me to work on this project and for working collaboratively with me. This project would not have been as successful nor would it have been completed if the project had not been approached with a team work mentality (working collaboratively is my favorite work style!). I also want to make a special mention about Takatoshi's contribution with helping with GNUplot surface plots and being available during that Saturday and Sunday to trouble shoot the graphics outputs from GNUplot with me.

Read the paper on the Angewandte Chemie journal website! Links below (check back for updated links and sourcing). For everybody else, yes it is rather complicated to explain, but JILA will be doing a research highlight this winter and I recommend reading that to get a general audience version of the research details and visuals (again check back for updated links).

THE SHORT SIDE STORY behind this project:

It was a pretty fun and intense project with a quick turn around of 3-4 days. I was working on several projects at once for several different Fellow groups at JILA. Also I was trying to make major advances on the JILA website overhaul to a CMS design and platform. I was pretty stressed about how I was going to manage all these projects at once and they ALL had really tight deadlines. So I arranged my project queue based on deadline and prioritized importance. Carl's cover project had the most immediate deadline, so I hyperfocused on his project. My project planning and time management skills made it possible to finish this project and stay on top of my other project productions (future posts coming soon!)

Usually when I start a project like this, I work in extreme close communication with the Fellow(s) and all researchers involved all the way through the project until it is finally submitted. The only problem was that Carl was going to be in Europe during the project and Takatoshi was in Austin, Texas. This particular communication setup initially opened up some logistic barriers, but I carefully figured out my game plan, and how we were all going to stay connected and work through this. How you might ask? extensive active Email threads (I think all of us were constantly checking our email accounts every 10 seconds) and cell phone calls (just got my iphone all app'ed up and ready to go). I figured out everybody's time zones and when the best times were to shoot off communications. Fortunately Takatoshi's time zone wasn't as drastic as Carl's. All n All, everything worked out just fine.

Carl was around for a day before heading off to Europe, so I quickly started going over the materials with Carl. We talked directly about how to make a cover design about his rather complex research. The title for the paper is "The Lowest Singlet and Triplet States of the Oxyallyl Diradical" which is not the easiest thing to explain visually. I spent a lot of time reading the research and pouring over the powerpoint slides and visuals. At this point Carl and I were emailing and calling Takatoshi about our discussions. The design changed quite a few times, but we all reached a rough consensus about what should and shouldn't be in the cover.

The game plan was roughly simpified as:

  • Model the (3D) molecules from data with GaussView in high resolution
  • Model the energy surface plots from various math equations with GNUplot (which is Linux based software)
  • Take the model pieces and combine them in layout, done in Illustrator
  • Finalize the design and master the file for print publication

While this seems simple enough, the process was more complex with the work flow process and communications. I never used GaussView before, so I had to install the software on my machines, quickly read the manual, and crash through some quick tests to make sure I was going to be able to use the software for my workflow. Using GaussView worked out perfectly. So far so good.

Then I had to do the same thing for the GNUplot application which I got running on my Windows and Linux. Jim from the JILA computing group helped me figure out how to get GNUplot running on the Linux box and my PC box (Thanks Jim!). Next Takatoshi wrote some GNUplot commands and equations which I was also playing with (again after crashing around GNUplot manuals). Takatoshi and I were in constant communication, swapping GNUplot commands back and forth between each other. Then BAM; GNUplot started being a difficult baby with me. Everything was going well until we all realized that GNUplot was rendering the surface plots kinda oddly at certain perspectives. While it was rendering mathmatically correct plots, they looked extremely odd from the particular perspective angles that we wanted. While it was rendering certain basic perspectives correctly, it could not handle 3D perspectives where any region of surface and contour potentially overlapped. Essentially, it was rendering the plots with contours and surfaces that had both hidden and viewable surface regions; that was causing some 3D optical allusions. While it was still mathematically correct, it was extremely hard to tell which parts of the surfaces were supposed to be in front, underneath, top, and in the back. GNUplot didn't have a ray-trace function to help it distinguish what was supposed to be viewable and what was supposed to be hidden (more-or-less Takatoshi and I couldn't find a corrective function nor did we have time to try to figure how to code one in about a day). This essentially made rendering images at high resolution RASTER worthless to us. So Takatoshi and I investigated the 3D and Vector formats. Takatoshi was able to pump out some pretty hot pdf vector versions. I was trying to do the same thing, but my PDF plugin library for GNUplot wasn't working! At this point I was about to pull out my hair because if I couldn't get the pdf version to work properly, then the whole project was in jeopardy. It was quickly becoming a "DO or Die" situation with GNUplot for the whole project. The pdf versions were extremely important in order to get visuals in a scientifically correct format (color mappings, vector contours, etc) that I could correct for the optical discrepancies with my other graphic software. Fortunately Takatoshi was able to render the pdf(s) from GNUplot correctly....So Takatoshi and I were working all day Saturday (until late in our nights) trading GNUplot code and pdf exports. Once Takatoshi and I were done with GNUplot exports, next came me spending quite a bit of time running corrections on the GNUplots exports. Even though it took a long time to fix the plots, the results were well worth it and the data still remains correct and true. Once the GNUplots were fixed, I knew the cover layout was going to be awesome and exactly the way I was originally planning it to turn out. I like it when I get my way.

After that it was just getting everything together and having a remote round table discussion by email and phone with Carl, Takatoshi and I. Those weren't held at normal business hours due to extreme locations we were all physically at. We all got excited about final results and after a few minor details were adjusted, we were ready for submission (which was hours away). done.

Full citation: Takatoshi Ichino, Stephanie M. Villano, Adam J. Gianola, Daniel J. Goebbert, Luis Velarde, Andrei Sanov, Stephen J. Blanksby, Xin Zhou, David A. Hrovat, Weston T. Borden, and W. Carl Lineberger, Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. English 48, 8381 (2009).

  • Clients: Carl Lineberger and Takatoshi Ichino

  • Related Links: Angewandte Chemie International Edition, JILA Research Highlight article
  • 10/1/09

    Ti:S crystal in an optical frequency comb laser

    I was asked to come do a photo shoot in Steve Cundiff's lab. Julie has been updating the content on the main JILA website for Precision Optical Frequency Metrology section, and she thought it would be a good idea to get some photos of Ti:S crystal and optical frequency comb laser setup for the website and other potential future uses. John Willits, who is a graduate student in Cundiff's lab, showed me around the lab and helped me with the photo shoot (basically made sure I didn't break anything or touch the lasers). I originally thought I was going to have to do some laser trace photography, but that method was shot down very quickly after a fair warning from John that some parts of the laser arrangement were actually potentially dangerous. The laser setup was really bright bright GREEN, and I was a little worried about how DLSR would handle with this type of light. You could actually see the laser path for the most part, so I wanted to have long exposures in hopes of getting those laser paths to be visible. There wasn't really a lot of room and I was basically balancing ontop of a ladder with a tripod trying to get a steady shot in a dark room. I was getting frustrated with not being able to move around the setup easily, but in the end I got some pretty awesome shots that I am content with. The photos will be on main JILA website (link below) and will probably be used for various presentations and other things. I just wish it could be used for a journal or magazine cover because I think the colors are really vivid and it would make a pretty good print cover.

  • Client: Steve Cundiff

  • Related Links: JILA main website; "Precision Optical Frequency Metrology"