The University of New Haven (UNH) will purchase a multipurpose X-Ray diffractometer (XRD) system capable of identifying the crystalline phase of solid materials, determining the thickness of thin films and measuring particle sizes. The instrument will be used by faculty and students in several academic programs at UNH including Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Forensic Science and Environmental Science, with a focus on undergraduate and graduate student research training. Faculty and student researchers will investigate topics such as chemical sensing, catalysis, green chemistry, environmental remediation and biomedical research. The acquisition of a modern XRD system at the University of New Haven will have significant impact on the greater University community. Activities that include the XRD will be developed for UNH programs with the Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS) a grade 6-12 school with a diverse population drawn from the greater New Haven area. Availability of the XRD system on campus will enable faculty at UNH to build partnerships and strengthen existing collaborations with faculty at nearby institutions such as the Yale British Art Gallery and the New Haven Mineral Club. UNH is primarily an undergraduate institution and the instrument will also be available to the faculty for use in laboratory courses.
Acquisition of a multipurpose XRD system, with capabilities for small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and X-Ray Reflectivity measurements will have a significant effect on the scholarly activity of the faculty and students at the University of New Haven. The XRD will be able to analyze samples in the standard Bragg Brentano geometry used for powder XRD measurements as well as in a parallel beam mode, which will enable the X-ray reflectivity measurements necessary for the study of thin films. In addition, the instrument will be equipped with a SAXS accessory for the study of small particles, whether in solid or solution form. The proposed research projects cover a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines. These projects include: 1) Investigation of electrospun and mesoporous oxides for application in separations, chemical sensing and catalysis (Chemistry), 2) Characterization of nanomaterials, such as CVD-graphene and tunable thermal interface materials (Electrical Engineering), 3) Particle size measurements of polymer nanobeads used in drug delivery (Chemistry), 4) Crystal structure determination of green catalysts (Chemistry), 5) Determination of the mechanism of atrazine dechlorination in water through the structure and speciation of the surface bimetal catalysts (Environmental Engineering), 6) Identification of changes in mineral compositions of soil that result from the in situ chemical oxidation process used to treat organic contamination (Environmental Engineering, 7) Study of the protein fouling of medical devices 8) Building a diffraction pattern library of automotive paint chip samples (Forensic Science), and 9) Collection of powder diffraction measurements of mineral samples, with the intent to cross-reference with Raman spectroscopic measurements (Environmental Science). Undergraduate and graduate students, through their participation in one of these research projects, will receive a unique, specialized research training on advanced instrumentation not normally available at similarly sized institutions.