News

Meagan Gadzuk-Shea ('15) presents at at Berkeley Symposium

This summer, McNair Scholar Meagan Gadzuk-Shea '15 has been working with Drs.  Jahncke (in physics) and  Hill (in chemistry) on a summer research project.  Meagan was selected from McNairs scholars around the nation to be a plenary speaker for the 22nd Annual California McNair Scholars Symposiumon in Berkeley, CA.  Her talk focused on  "Analysis of Charge Transfer States in Heterobimetallic Complexes by Resonance Raman Spectroscopy." 

Dr. Hill had this to say about her work, "Meagan has been working hard all summer, learning to align lasers and write data-processing code. I'm so proud of the all she accomplished, and I can't wait to see what she accomplishes this fall in her SYE."

 

The abstract for her talk:

Solar power presents a viable and sustainable form of renewable energy if it can be harvested and stored effectively. Photosynthetic organisms absorb energy from the sun and convert it into usable chemical fuels. The characteristics of transition metals give them the potential to mimic this. Metal catalysts can split CO2 into more useable O¬2 and CO. Transition metals can be anchored to surfaces, such as silica nano-pores, in mono-metallic systems or they can be combined in homo-bimetallic and hetero-bimetallic complexes with an oxy-bridge between the nuclei. When such systems are anchored to a surface, their characteristics can be studied, altered and analyzed. The objective of the current experiment aims to design a laser system that is capable of gathering Raman spectra of heterobimetallic systems anchored to silica nano-pore surfaces (CoZrMCM-41).  By exposing the complexes to light, the laser beam will enable analysis of the structural changes occurring due to energy transfer processes taking place. It is anticipated that the photon energy will promote the cobalt (Co) to strip shared electron density from the zirconium (Zr), making the cobalt atom softer and reactive toward the carbon in CO2 and the zirconium atom harder and reactive toward the oxygen of CO2.  An application of this research is to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the environment and the development of an alternative fuel source that can lessen human dependence on the diminishing quantities of fossil fuels.