Spectroscopic studies of ozone- the Earth's UV filter
Ozone depletion remains one of the major social- political environmental issues of the day. Annual polar ozone depletion has been well documented, particularly in the southern hemisphere; as polar ozone depletion worsens annually, regions of lower latitude are increasingly affected in both the southern and northern hemispheres resulting in growing public awareness and concern. As stratospheric ozone decreases so does the protection it offers from harmful ultraviolet radiation. The grave consequences of unchecked ozone depletion on the Earth's biological systems has provided the impetus for a global research effort to determine the causes and effects of ozone depletion. To date, major attention has been given to ozone destruction cycles catalysed by the chemical by-products which result from the photolysis of man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrogen oxides. However in order to understand the underlying chemistry and physics of ozone depletion a wide range of laboratory studies and detailed theoretical calculations are also needed to characterize ozone dissociation dynamics and electronic structure. A full characterization of ozone spectroscopy and dissociation dynamics is far from complete. This is in part due to the difficulty in preparing such a reactive (and unstable) molecule for the necessary laboratory studies and partly due to the difficulty in accurately modelling ozone's ground state structure. Thus despite its crucial importance, studies of ozone spectroscopy and collision dynamics have only been refined within the last decade. In this review, the structure, spectroscopy and dissociation pathways of ozone will be discussed within the context of their role in the stratosphere.