With this award from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Departmental Multi-User Instrumentation program (CRIF:MU), Professors David J. Singel, Joan B. Broderick and Robert K. Szilagyi from Montana State University will acquire a suite of new spectroscopy instruments and upgrades to existing instruments which will enhance their capabilities to do ultraviolet-visible, EPR and Mossbauer spectroscopies on interesting inorganic, organometallic and bioinorganic chemical systems. The instrumentation would support the spectroscopy needs of six major users (Joan Broderick, Trevor Douglas, Yves Idzerda, John Peters, David Singel and Robert Szilagyi) and their research students. Amongst the variety of topics to be studied are: 1) studies of enzymes with interesting iron-sulfur moieties (Broderick and Peters); 2) the study of protein cage templates for nanomaterials (Douglas, Idzerda and Szilagyi); 3) the physics of magnetic nanomaterials (Idzerda); 4) the study of nitrogenase and hydrogenase structure, mechanism and assembly (Peters, Broderick, Douglas and Szilagyi) 5) the biochemistry of nitric oxide (Singel, Szilagyi) and 6) the development of an improved understanding of potential energy surfaces in inorganic, organometallic and bioinorganic catalytic processes (Szilagyi) . The instrumentation will be available to a broad range of young scientists doing research in the research groups of the major users.

The spectroscopic instruments that are the subject of this award allow chemists to probe the electronic structure and chemical bonding in a number of interesting, primarily metal-atom-containing systems. The information that is obtained in this kind of research enables chemists to develop a better understanding of how these species participate in catalytic reactions. The studies described here will impact a number of areas, including fundamental chemistry, catalysis and biology. Students using the apparatus will receive valuable training with cutting-edge instrumentation.

Project Report

Instrumentation for spectroscopic characterization of biological metal centers was purchased using this grant. The instrumentation has provided new research capabilities that are essential for advancing research in metallobiochemistry at Montana State University. The instrumentation purchased include a high field Mössbauer spectrometer as well as a cryostat addition for our UV-visible absorption spectrometer. Through our connections in the field, we were able to leverage this funding to acquire and refurbish a low-field Mössbauer spectrometer as well. This new equipment is allowing advancement of cutting-edge research at Montana State University, as well as the training of graduate and undergraduate research students in these modern spectroscopic techniques. At least five different research groups in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at MSU, as well as many more across campus, have research programs related to iron metalloproteins. In order to understand the detailed roles of iron in such proteins, it is generally necessary to probe the coordination environment and oxidation state of the iron at various points during its biological function; the purchased instrumentation will allow us to do this for the range of complex iron metalloproteins of interest at MSU. We also expect our spectroscopic facility, with its unusual capabilities, to attract researchers from the region.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Charles D. Pibel
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Montana State University
United States
Zip Code