In this project, new microscale imaging and chemical identification capabilities are being developed through the innovative coursework based on the Raman Scattering microscopy and Raman spectroscopy instrumentation acquired by the State University of New York at Potsdam. The innovative coursework involves hands-on experience with Raman instrumentation for students of two science departments (Chemistry and Biology) and the Anthropology department. A series of new experiments are being developed for use in lower division undergraduate courses, and a series of new laboratories incorporating advanced technologies are being introduced in upper division courses. The new instrumental capabilities are also being utilized to engage students in undergraduate research in the fields of nanoscience phenomena to enhance students' preparation for solving future challenges in the work place, industrial labs or academia. At the same time, demonstrations are being carried out for anthropology students with the aim to spread the information about the unique features and outstanding possibilities of compound identification and microscale analysis. While the high resolution Raman imaging techniques and chemical identification of species down to single molecule level have been presented in textbooks and research papers, the new hands-on experiences for students creates the opportunity to enhance students' comprehension of chemistry at the nanoscale level and enables them to gain new laboratory skills. These experiences integrated across the curriculum are advancing the learning process to the challenges of the explosion of nanoscience discoveries and emerging nanotechnologies requiring new approaches to the identification and monitoring of active chemical species in nanostructures.

Project Report

PI: Maria Hepel Co-PI: Robert Ewy Awardee: SUNY College at Potsdam 1. Project outcomes A primary goal of Biology and Chemistry faculty in Higher Education is for undergraduate students to make the connection between the theories they learn in lecture classes and how to apply this knowledge to solve real-world problems. A wide-spread problem in human society is to identify small molecules in complex mixtures and to do so quickly (minutes) rather than over the course of days. Identifying toxic molecules in blood samples, determining the purity of pharmaceutical products, and even detecting explosive substances before they are put aboard commercial aircraft are all examples of looking for the proverbial "needle in a haystack." A powerful technique to do this is spectroscopy. Simply put, specific wavelengths of light can be focused on complex samples and specific molecules within that sample will produce a unique signal that can be detected. The purpose of this grant was to use Raman Spectroscopy to provide undergraduate students both hands on training in ways to look for a variety of molecules in chemical mixtures or cells and training them to become scientists. Many undergraduates in Chemistry and Biology at both large universities and small colleges do not get the hands on training on analytical equipment that is used by industry, health care facilities, and governmental labs. The sheer numbers of undergraduates at large universities precludes these students from having enough equipment, and small schools often do not have the resources to purchase up to date equipment. SUNY Potsdam is a small state school in upstate New York. We have a tradition of small upper division courses in both Biology and Chemistry and obtaining equipment that is used for both teaching undergraduate students in regular courses and for student research. Our smaller class sizes allow us to spend more time with each student and use more inquiry-based exercises in our teaching labs than many other schools. This project allowed for the purchase of a Raman spectrometer to help better prepare our students for careers in Chemistry and Biology. Students are exposed to a variety of techniques and instruments during their undergraduate education. While they will not use all the specific details they learn, both the exposure to instrumentation and the repetition of being asked "how would you solve this problem?" in many different classes shows students the need to become familiar with instrumentation. This grant allowed us to incorporate Raman spectroscopy into many different classes in: Anthropology (1), Biology (4), Chemistry (5), and Physics (2). These lab exercises were not merely demonstrations, but rather allowed students to do the experiments themselves in an "inquiry-based" mode. The use of the Raman instrument in these varied departments allowed students to understand the interdisciplinary nature of science today. Simply put, an instrument in a chemistry lab is not just used by chemists, but to answer Biological questions and even to learn about ancient life (Anthropology). In addition, literally hundreds of students from several local high schools were given a demonstration of the analytical power of the instrument during our "High School Science Day" which is held every fall on our campus. The Raman spectrophotometer purchased with this grant also has, and will continue to be used for undergraduate research. We view undergraduate research as an extension of our teaching, it is our job to train the next generation of scientists. A list of publications including peer-reviewed papers, poster and presentations at both regional and national meetings are listed by NSF separately. The authors include both Chemistry and Biology faculty and undergraduate students. Overall, this grant has allowed, and will continue to allow us to provide hands-on experience with a state-of-the art piece of equipment to students from many different disciplines. We feel this will make our students better scientists and allow them to better compete for careers in an ever-increasing technological age. 2. Products other than publications One lab manual was extensively rewritten and many individual laboratory exercises were developed as a result of this grant. Instrumental Analysis Lab Manual, CHEM 415 Quantitative Analysis, CHEM-311 "Raman microanalysis of composition of pharmaceutical tablets" Quantitative Analysis, CHEM-311 "Core-shell nanoparticles used as highly efficient Raman tags " Physical Chemistry Lab, CHEM-452 "Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)". Advanced Analytical Chemistry, CHEM-485 "Resonance Raman and AFM characterization of bare WO3 and silver -plated WO3 nanoparticles". Inorganic Chemistry, Chem-497 "Raman Spectroscopy as New Tool for Chemical Identification and Imaging." Forensic Science Lab, CHEM-315: "Drugs and Pharmaceutical Tablets ". General Microbiology, BIOL-320: "Biological applications of Raman spectroscopy" Condensed Matter Physics, PHYS-450 "Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)".

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Dawn Rickey
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Suny College at Potsdam
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