Research Areas: Surfaces and Interfaces, Laser Spectroscopy, Environmental Chemistry
B.A. Chemistry/Physics, Whitman College, 1997.
Ph.D. Physics, University of Oregon, 2003.
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles, 2003-2006.
Research in my group focuses on investigating molecules at interfaces, in particular, interfaces of atmospheric or environmental importance. We are currently exploring the series of nitrogen oxides (NOx compounds, a primary component of photochemical smog) at the vapor/water interface. Aerosol particles in the troposphere have a significant number of their molecules at the particle surface, where they not only participate in chemical reactions but also play a role in the growth and adsorption properties of the aerosols. To investigate molecular concentrations, orientations, and inter-molecular interactions at a vapor/water interface, my research group uses surface tension measurements in conjunction with the highly surface selective technique, second harmonic generation (SHG). Using a tunable, pulsed laser system, we are able to obtain SHG spectra (somewhat analogous to a UV-Vis spectrum) of only those molecules within the interfacial region, typically the top few molecular layers. By comparing the surface properties to UV-Vis spectra of bulk solutions, we are able to explore the differences between the bulk and surface environments, thereby gaining insight into the chemistry of aerosol particles in the troposphere. While we are currently using SHG to study liquid surfaces, the technique possesses the versatility to investigate many types of interfaces, including those between solids, as well as between a solid and a liquid.