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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

In situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for studying chemical reactions

Location

Materials & Manufacturing, RX/Soft Matter Materials

RO# Location
13.25.04.C0504 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337817

Advisers

name email phone
Rao, Rahul rahul.rao.2@us.af.mil 864.650.4557

Description

The study of reaction intermediates and products as well as their rates of transformation are of fundamental interest to a wide variety of Air Force-relevant materials solutions. One example is per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the so-called "forever" chemicals are dangerous contaminants that persist in the environment. This happens due to the high strength and stability of the C-F bond. Thus, there is a great need to develop state-of-the-art methods to understand and expedite the degradation of these molecules. We propose to combine surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) studies to detect ultralow concentrations of PFAS molecules, and combine with photocatalysis to irradiate (UV as well as visible light) and cleave the PFAS molecules into their atomic constituents. Another example is to study the functionalization of inorganic nanocrystals and nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene in flow chemical processes. These studies can be enabled by performing in situ spectroscopy through flow cells. In each case, the reaction rates, intermediates and products will be characterized in situ with SERS in addition to complementary techniques such as mass spectrometry, NMR, FTIR and UV-Vis spectroscopy. Finally, this research opportunity is also open to incorporate machine learning algorithms that utilize the in situ spectral feedback to improve and optimize the process under study.

Keywords:
in situ, SERS, photocatalysis, Raman spectroscopy, plasmons, PFAS

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants

Stipend

Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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