DATE: May 2019
Whitman College | Chemistry
Mark Hendricks, Assistant Professor

My laboratory studies the synthesis of semiconducting nanocrystals that have applications in solar cells, lighting/displays, and bioimaging. To initiate the reaction that forms the nanocrystals a precise volume of the precursor solution has to be injected into the reaction flask; Hamilton Gastight Syringes are ideal for this application. Similarly, to study the products of the reaction precise aliquots must be removed at specific throughout the reaction and then analyzed via spectroscopy (e.g. NMR, FT-IR, etc.). Hamilton Gastight Syringes are again the ideal piece of equipment for these aliquot removals.

The syringes from this grant will allow precise initiation and aliquot removal from the nanocrystal reactions, thereby enabling kinetic study of the reactions. This is a critical step in my research to understand the underlying chemistry that occurs in the formation of these nanocrystals, which will eventually lead to enhanced control of the nanocrystal properties. I also plan to incorporate nanocrystal synthesis into the Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 352) that I teach for 3rd year chemistry majors at Whitman. The use of Hamilton syringes in this setting will set-up students for success in the synthesis and characterization of the nanocrystals so they can determine the relationship between the reaction conditions, nanocrystal size, and physical properties for themselves. Due to the quantum-size effect observed in these crystals, they are arguably the best observable example of quantum mechanics known, and thus this experience is potentially critical in connecting the concepts the students have learned in organic/inorganic, analytical, and physical chemistry. The use of Hamilton syringes will also allow me to emphasize the importance of precision and accuracy in the reactions.

The focus on high-level undergraduate research at Whitman College is one of the primary reasons I accepted the offer to join the faculty at Whitman, and is limited to a small number of peer institutions nationally. All of the labs at Whitman are comprised of Whitman undergraduates (no graduate students or postdocs), and yet the the research is consistently published in top journals and presented at national conferences. Whitman College prides itself on serving a diverse student population, and my laboratory currently has international and women of color students represented. I will continue to recruit and support students of diversity in my laboratory and classes.

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