Some Non-Environmental Research Projects Underway at Berry College
pH and Surface Acids.
(Dr. Alice Harper)
In collaboration with Dr Mark Anderson at the University of Colorado at Denver, we are investigating how solution pH affects surface acid groups. Since chemical sensors and implantable devices are often modified with these types of reactive surface groups, it is important to understand how the solution pH will change the functionality at the interface. We study these interfaces using open circuit potentiometry and redox couples.
Synthesis of Highly Reactive Organic Compounds. (Dr. Gary Breton)
Carbon-based organic molecules are held together by chemical bonds between atoms. When these bonds are placed under strain by bending or stretching them beyond their normal bonding parameters, the molecules become highly reactive. Our research group searches for ways to synthesize molecules with particularly strained bonds. Such molecules have potential applications as synthetic fuels, explosives, and pharmaceuticals. Our most recent efforts concern the synthesis and investigation of a series of strained organic molecules know as diazetine-1,2-dioxides. These compounds thermally decompose to liberate nitric oxide (NO). NO regulates many processes in the body such as blood pressure and blood coagulation. This project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF # CHE-0405034).
Implementation of a Web-Based Machine Vision System.
(Dr. Lee R. Clendenning)
Machine vision requires the automatic capture and storage of a camera image in digital form, the capability of making a logical decision based on analysis of the pixel data in a specific area of interest in the image, the control of an external system based on the decision, and a periodic repetition of the cycle without human intervention. Applications include assembly line product inspection, robotic control, security, and military targeting. Most applications are confined to a specific area. A web-based system would allow humans to monitor any system from practically any place on earth, and further allow wide separation between the camera-image location and the controlled system.
Experimental Charge Density Analyses of Substituted Phenolate Salts. (Dr. Kenneth L. Martin)
The kinetics studies of the reactions between phenolate ions and various "electron loving" ions revealed that when the phenolate has an electron withdrawing group the reaction is slower than when the phenolate has an electron donating group. Crystals of various phenolate salts are grown and X-ray diffraction data sets are collected at low temperature. The data are then used to determine the charges of the atoms. This study tests the hypothesis that the rate of reaction between the phenolate and electrophile is related to the magnitude of the negative charge on the phenolic oxygen atom.
Creating a Better Cholesterol Biosensor. (Dr. Alice Harper)
With obesity on the rise, high cholesterol is a disease affecting Americans both in terms of health and cost. A cholesterol sensor is practical for many applications, for example testing someone's own blood to determine if their blood cholesterol is too high. The practicalities of biosensors are immeasurable. Biosensors should be simple to make, robust and have a long shelf-life. The long term goal of the study is to create a biosensor with increased robustness and shelf-life. Additionally, the biosensors being developed by our group uses cholesterol oxidase, but in principle the enzyme can be replaced with any other enzyme containing a redox center to test the concentration of a substance in the body.
Quantum-Classical Correspondence in Periodically Driven Systems. (Dr. Todd Timberlake)
Periodically driven one-dimensional systems are the simplest physical models that exhibit chaotic motion in classical mechanics. Numerical simulations of both classical and quantum versions of the same system reveal connections between classical and quantum behavior in chaotic systems. We are particularly interested in the relationship between the stability of certain classical phase-space structures (such as periodic orbits) and the stability of quantum resonance states that decay over time.
Statistical Tests of Randomness in the Primes (Dr. Todd Timberlake) The normalized spacings between consecutive prime numbers are statistically similar to the spacings between random numbers. However, stringent tests of the randomness of the prime numbers have not been performed. Our goal is to apply certain statistical measures, originally developed to study quantum eigenvalue sequences, to the sequence of prime numbers. We also plan to study the statistical properties of random primes (such as Hawkins primes and Cramer primes). The goal is to provide solid numerical evidence (although not proof) that the primes are randomly spaced, which would indicate that prime numbers might be eigenvalues of a quantum system with regular classical dynamics.
Quantum Revivals in the Asymmetric Infinite Square Well (Dr. Todd Timberlake) Quantum wave packets in the infinite square well system display perfect revivals, in which the wave packet reforms perfectly after first being dispersed, at well-defined times. The addition of an asymmetry in the bottom of the well disrupts this revival behavior. Our goal is to examine the revival properties of wave packets in the asymmetric infinite square well to determine under what conditions the system can undergo a near-perfect revival (in which the wave packet reforms into an almost identical copy of the original). More generally we seek to understand the role of asymmetries in altering the revival properties of wave packets in quantum wells.