Stephanie Schaertel Research Interests

Current Research Projects for Stephanie Schaertel 

(Chemistry Department, Winter 2018)

Contact information

Chemistry Department, 357 Padnos Hall

(616) 331-3876

schaerts@gvsu.edu

I am a physical chemist, so the projects described here span the disciplines of chemistry and physics.

Title: Diode-laser-based techniques for the measurement of a type of fundamental molecular constant

Description: This project involves the development of a diode-laser-based technique to be used for sensitive measurements of a type of fundamental molecular constant. The type of molecular constant that we are exploring is the pressure-broadening coefficient, which gives information about what occurs when molecules collide. Some of the topics and skills that this work involves are: lasers, optics, vacuum techniques, gas handling, electronic data collection, signal-handling techniques, advanced data analysis, some programming, reading of computer programs, the theory of molecular collisions. You do not need to have previous expertise to join this project. This project is being done in collaboration with Dr. George McBane of the GVSU Chemistry Department. This project is currently very active and I am open to accepting new students on this project.

Title: “Noisy” light as a tool for studying coupling between small molecules and surfaces

Description: This project involves the development of techniques that use the statistical properties of noisy (not in phase) light to probe coupling between small molecules and surfaces. Students involved in this project would be able to use modern spectroscopic equipment and to learn about the theoretical underpinnings of: spectroscopy, spectroscopic line shapes, molecule-surface interactions, and more. You do not need to have previous experience to join this project; however, calculus skills would be helpful. Previous experience with the symbolic math program MathematicaTM would also be helpful, but is not required. This project is being done in collaboration with Dr. Dalila Kovacs of the GVSU Chemistry Department, Jake Lindale (Duke University), Evan Christoffersen (University of Oregon) and David Bronicki (GVSU). This project is currently very active; however, there is not really a lot of room for new students on this project currently. However, if you are interested in working on this project in the future, please do come to talk to me.

Title: Spectroscopic study of carbon capture

Description: In this project I aim to use common spectroscopic techniques (NMR and FTIR) to study compounds that could serve as inexpensive, plentiful, and relatively safe (“green”) agents for carbon capture. I would also like to use a homebuilt diode-laser-based spectrometer to measure the relative amount of CO2 bound to carbon capture hosts when the CO2 is present in a gas mixture. Some of the topics and skills that this work can involve are: NMR, FTIR, lasers, optics, vacuum techniques, gas handling, electronic data collection, relatively advanced signal-handling techniques, data analysis, theory behind the spectroscopy of gas/solid interactions. You do not need to have previous expertise to join this project. This project is temporarily on hold; however, I might be willing to restart work on this project with a very self-directed student.

Another physical chemistry laboratory development project involves thermodynamic characterization of binding equilibria via NMR measurements. This project involves work with solutions, NMR spectroscopy, and perhaps some computational chemistry. This last project has involved collaboration with Dr. Randy Winchester of the GVSU Chemistry Department.

Title:  Physical chemistry laboratory development projects

Description: There are several projects that consist of development of physical chemistry laboratory investigations. One of these projects has as its goal the development of a low-cost, relatively safe emission lifetime spectrometer. Dr. George McBane and Dr. Doug Furton (and his students) have collaborated on this project. The laser/optics parts of the spectrometer have been built; currently the tasks on this project involve improving the instrument/computer interface to make it even more inexpensive and accessible to users. Another project is the development of a low-cost option for Raman spectroscopy at GVSU. Raman spectroscopy is an important spectroscopic technique for elucidating chemical structure. It complements the more familiar technique of infrared absorption spectroscopy. We have built our own low-cost Raman spectrometer and are interested in improving it in terms of safety, ease of use, and cost.

Another physical chemistry laboratory development project involves thermodynamic characterization of binding equilibria via NMR measurements. This project involves work with solutions, NMR spectroscopy, and perhaps some computational chemistry. Dr. Randy Winchester of the GVSU Chemistry Department collaborated on an early version of this project. This last project also overlaps with the spectroscopic study of carbon capture research project.