Biomembrane Studies and Crystal Growth
Project 1: X-ray structural studies of bio-membranes
The student will participate in hands on X-ray reflectivity and fluorescence experiments from bio-membranes and thin films to determine their structure-function relationship on molecular length scales and overall morphologies. The duties of the student will include the samples, performing X-ray scattering experiments, analyzing the data, literature search, and writing a summary. The specific projects will involve the induction of nano-crystal growth at membrane templates, similar to biomineralization processes in living organisms, and chracterization of polymer-protein interactions. To a large extent this is an interdisciplinary study involving physics, chemistry and biology.
Project 2: Crystal growth and neutron scattering
The student will be involved in growing magnetic and superconducting crystals and chracterizing them by X-ray diffraction, magnetic susceptibility and transport mtheods. Successful growth of good quality single crystals will eventually lead to conducting neutron and X-ray scattering experiments at national facilities such as the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Lab, and the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.
Program Mentor: David Vaknin, senior physicist, Ames Laboratory