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Chemistry

Students may apply to one or more of the below projects, indicating this in their statement of interest, or they may apply for "Chemistry: General," indicating in their statement of interest their skills and background and some faculty with whom they would be interested in working.  Chemistry Faculty List

Prof. Alexander Wei alexwei@purdue.edu Design of Sustainable Hybrid Plastics using Modified Cellulose Nanofibers We are interested to design biodegradable thermoplastics using cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) blended with polycarbonate or ABS. CNFs are organically modified using a mechanochemical process that requires minimum solvent.  CNF-polymer mixtures are then cast into large sheets for various applications such as intelligent packaging and super-hydrophobic (self-cleaning and water-repelling) coatings. Biodegradation studies involve the use of bacterial lipases, microbial cellulases, and their optimization using bio-selection strategies. Some organic chemistry laboratory experience (handling organic solvents, lab safety training)

Strong interest in materials synthesis, processing, and characterization

prior experience with bacterial or cell culture a big plus!
 Prof. Alexander Wei alexwei@purdue.edu Design and Deployment of Wireless Thin-Film Sensors We are developing thin-film chemical sensors comprised of 2D materials, carbon nanotubes, and supramolecular receptors (porphyrins and metal-pincer ligand complexes).  These materials are deposited sequentially onto electrodes printed on flexible plastic substrates, using roll-to-roll manufacturing equipment that can produce 100’s of sensors per run. The sensors are mounted on printed circuit boards with wireless transducers. The sensing modality is conductometric, and is capable of detecting gas analytes below 100 ppb. The long-range objective is to create distributed sensor networks over entire buildings. Some organic chemistry lab experience (handling organic solvents, lab safety training)

working knowledge of electronics and/or Raspberry Pi is a big plus!  
Prof. Alexander Laskin alaskin@purdue.edu Chemistry of Atmospheric Aerosols We investigate the composition and physical properties of atmospheric organic aerosols. We study aerosol reaction chemistry driven by the effects of the relative humidity, UV photolysis, evaporative processing, particle size and reaction time. Our ongoing work is focused on the chemical aging of organic aerosol leading to the formation of "brown carbon" - compounds that change optical properties of particles, which in turn have a profound effect on the atmospheric environment and climate. Specific tasks of the visiting student will include applications of high resolution mass spectrometry to the field of atmospheric aerosol and environmental chemistry. The candidate will assist a group of graduate students working on developing and applications of new analytical chemistry protocols for the molecular-level analysis of atmospheric organic matter, understanding biases in extraction and analysis, aiding in the development of a suite of analytical approaches including LC-MS, LC-MS/MS, atmospheric pressure ionization methods, etc. Prior hands-on lab experience in the areas of basic general and analytical chemistry, excellent oral and written communication skills, strong interpersonal skills. 
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