NSF REU at K-State: Interactions of Matter, Light and Learning
The K-State REU program offers summer fellowships to do world-class research in our friendly physics department in the scenic Flinthills. We are funded by the National Science Foundation.
Condensed Matter (CM) or Soft Matter Physics
Dr. Jeremy Schmit: Understanding Protein Self-assembly through simplified models
Amyloid fibrils are linear protein aggregates associated with many diseases including Alzheimer's, prion (e.g. Mad Cow), and type 2 diabetes. Structural studies have shown that amyloids are highly ordered assemblies resembling 1D crystals. However, this finding is biased by the lack of structural methods that can characterize disordered biomolecule structures. The goal of this project is to understand the factors that will introduce defects into fibrils and to predict the level of disorder that results. This will involve the derivation of simple analytic theories and conducting numerical simulations of toy models.
Dr. Chris Sorensen: Suspensions as Solutions: Solubility of Nanoparticles
We have developed chemical methods to make nanoparticles with very uniform size. We have discovered that because of this size uniformity suspensions of these nanoparticles can act like solutions with thermally reversible, temperature dependent solubility. We have published one study , which involved a REU student, for 5 nm gold nanoparticles to determine their solubility as a function of their ligand shell and the solvent. We have extended these studies to the temperature dependence and data obtained by previous REU students has led to another paper recently submitted . We need to continue this work to determine the effects of the ligand shell and particle size on the solubility temperature dependence. With analysis, these data will lead to a measure of the interparticle potential. This is a good project for someone who has interests in both physics and chemistry.
References (Bold type indicates REU student):
1. “Solubility of Gold Nanoparticles as a Function of Ligand Shell and Alkane Solvent”, B. C. Lohman, J. A. Powell, S. Cingarapu, C. B. Aakeroy, A. Chakrabarti, K. J. Klabunde, B. M. Law, and C. M. Sorensen, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 14, 6502- 6506 (2012).
2. “Temperature Dependent Solubility of Gold Nanoparticle Suspension/Solutions”, J. A. Powell, R. M. Schweiters, K. W. Bayliff, E. N. Herman, N. J. Hotvedt, J. R. Changstrom, A. Chakrabarti and C. M. Sorensen*, submitted to the Journal of Physical Chemistry B.