Evaluating Procedures for Cleaning Birds and Other Wildlife Affected by Oil Spills
DATE: February 2020
Montclair State University | Chemistry & Biochemistry
Amrita Sarkar, PhD. | Assistant Professor

The digital syringe will be used to inject a precise volume of 25 μL polymer solution in Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)/Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) in a research lab and Electrospray Ionization Mass spectrometry (MS) and Gas Chromatography (GC) in a teaching lab at Montclair State University. These analytical techniques enable in estimating molar mass average, distribution, sample purity, and detection of small molecules/oligomers/polymers.

Our current research focuses on synthesis of nature-inspired polymer and evaluating their self-assembled hierarchical nanostructure. We envision the use of our synthesized polymer in a myriad of applications both in frontier research and industrial developments. We use gel permeation or size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) in determining the average molar mass and dispersity of the synthesized polymers. These results and their validity are crucial for our research. However, analytical quality of GPC results is often influenced by random and systematic errors among which incorrect and inconsistent sample volume injection plays a significant role. We anticipate the use of 25 μL digital gastight syringe (model 702N, Part # / Ref: DS80465) will eliminate this systematic error and lead into publishable quality data. Currently, 3 undergraduate research students and the PI will be benefitted from this grant.

Likewise, same syringe will be used to teach an advanced undergraduate course in Polymer Chemistry (CHEM 490/536) in Spring, 2022 at MSU. This course will be designed to provide undergraduate students a hand-on experience in advanced analytical instruments including electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and gas chromatography (GC). Our department mass spectrum is not equipped with autosampler, so precise manual injection is mandatory to receive high quality analytical MS data. 18 students and 1 instructor at each semester will be benefitted from this grant.

I value undergraduate research as a necessary component for polymer chemistry education as undergraduate research sparked my ongoing passion for polymer chemistry. Polymer chemistry is taught in the undergraduate classes in the ACS certified chemistry program since 2015 due to its growing importance in industry and academic research, though no polymer research oriented lab exists at MSU. Since 2020, my newly established undergraduate polymer research lab (https://msupolymer.weebly.com/) focuses a single concept of polymer science where students getting hand-on experiences in multiple chemistry subdisciplines including organic synthesis, analytical instruments and material science. As a passionate polymer chemist, I want undergraduate students receive the best opportunity to participate in a cutting-edge polymer science. My experiences have shown me the key to developing the next generation of successful scientists involves teaching and mentoring undergraduates to possess the necessary skills to pursue any career path.

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