Science and Engineering

University of Houston

Steven Baldelli, Kevin Kelly (Rice University)
Houston, TX
$1,000,000
June 2012

Investigators at the University of Houston and Rice University plan to develop a new chemical imaging system and will use it to study fundamental problems in surface chemistry that are otherwise inaccessible. Systems to be investigated include the spatial distribution of surface molecules involved in pattern formation on surfaces such as catalytic reaction on metals or lipids, and Langmuir/Langmuir-Blodgett monolayers, which are important models of biological and cell surfaces. The new technique will combine surface vibrational spectroscopy (sum frequency generation, SFG) and compressive sensing (CS). The planned CS-SFG microscope will allow for the chemical identification and spatial location of molecules on a variety of surfaces and will be applicable to real world samples to provide a chemical map of the interface. The technique will be useful for anyone wanting to characterize or study the surface chemistry of solid or fluid interfaces. The team plans to fully document and publish details of the finished instrument so that others could, affordably, add this imaging modality onto their own systems.

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