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Raman Spectroscopy Analyses of Biomass

The main objective of the Smith research group is to demonstrate Raman spectroscopy analyses of biomass, enzymatic catalysis, and thin films. This objective is accomplished through a combination of analytical measurements, instrument and method development. Our work supports the use of biomass as a feedstock for renewable fuels and commodity chemicals through rapid, non-invasive characterization of biomass composition and conversion.

Biological Binding of Molecules

The primary objective of the project is to understand the mechanism governing specific binding between biological molecules and monomolecular assemblies of nucleic acid based receptor molecules as a function of electric field-induced conformational changes and molecular order.  This understanding will be useful to realize bioitic-abiotic interfaces between biological systems and artificial components that allow translation of external stimuli into biochemical signals.  Controlled experiments on a model ligand/receptor system - thrombin protein (ligand) and associated DNA aptamer (

Nanoparticles

Analysis of nanostructured materials frequently employs Transmission Electron Microscopy, where specimens are routinely prepared by placing a drop of nanoparticles suspension on a suitable electron microscopy (EM) grid. Solvent-induced interactions, often inducing aggregation of the suspended nanoparticles, can be misleading in terms of both the observedinteractions between the individual nanoparticles, and resulting geometries.

Alloy Design and Optimization

Thermochemical property measurements and calculation program development for alloy design

Energetic calculation is one of the most important tools used in alloy design and optimization. The computations based on energetics for both equilibrium and non-equilibrium phase transformations will be used to develop new alloys and processing. Students will use thermodynamic theory to describe the properties of alloys.

The internship will be divided into two parts:

Spring 2013 - Alloy Design and Optimization

Thermochemical property measurements and calculation program development for alloy design.

Energetic calculation is one of the most important tools used in alloy design and optimization. The computations based on energetics for both equilibrium and non-equilibrium phase transformations will be used to develop new alloys and processing. Students will use thermodynamic theory to describe the properties of alloys.

The internship will be divided into two parts:

Mesoporous Materials

"Students will work on a project aimed to capture greenhouse gases with nanomaterials. Multifunctionalized porous nanoparticles will be prepared for the capture and temporary storage of CO2. The students will be trained for working on the synthesis and characterization of mesoporous materials. They will use a series of analytical methods including powder x-ray diffraction, BET sorption isotherms, electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.

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