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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

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