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«Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM San Antonio,Texas · October 3-6, 2013 Get Connected! Connect with the ...»

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In 1922, German scientist Franz Fischer and Professor Hans Tropsch discovered a catalytic process between carbon monoxide and hydrogen that produced a variety of synthetic products including alkanes, alkenes, olefins, paraffins, hydrocarbons, and alcohols. During World War II, this process (known as Fischer Tropsch (FT)) made it possible for Germany to produce synthetic fuel from its coal reserves to sustain its armies on the field. During FT synthesis, carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the form of synthesis gas or “rejected gas”, is released from coal through a gasification process. Deriving synthetic products from synthesized gas is possible with the aid of a highly-active working catalyst. Catalysts are used in the industrial processing of fuel and synthetic products daily throughout the world. This research thesis aims at developing a catalyst that is selective in the formation of alcohols for synthetic transportation liquid fuels. In other words, the catalyst should be able to change the thermodynamically controlled process to a kinetically controlled process that would favor the production of alcohols. The assembly of a lab scale gas-to-liquid technology is also being developed to test catalytic material for alcohol production. The depletion of oil reserves and an exponentially increasing demand for energy worldwide, combined with the national interest to reduce dependence on foreign oil, makes alcohol production of fuels and chemicals via FT synthesis an attractive option for future sustainability development.

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Carlos Tamez Jr., Jason Parsons.

University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX.

Nano-sized Fe3O4 and Fe2O3 were synthesized using a slow precipitation/titration method and their effectiveness as an adsorbent was tested. The nanoparticles were characterized with powder X-ray diffraction, to ensure the proper iron oxide was obtained. pH dependency studies determined optimum copper and lead binding to Fe3O4 and Fe2O3 occurs at pH 4. Copper and lead batch studies were conducted using 300 ppb solutions and 5 to 240 min contact time, and showed that both nanoparticles bind at a rate independent of time. Isotherm studies determined the binding capacity of Fe3O4 to copper to be 37.04 mg/g and lead to be 166.67 mg/g. Fe2O3 binding capacity was calculated to be 19.61 mg/g for copper and 45.45 mg/g for lead. Batch studies using 5 to 500 ppm solutions containing both copper and lead determined higher binding affinity for lead to both nanoparticles. Batch studies also showed no significant reduction in the binding of copper and lead to either Fe3O4 or Fe2O3 in the presence of Na+, K+, Mg2+ or Ca2+.

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Nabraj Bhattarai, Subarna Khanal, Daniel Bahena, Ulises Satiago, Alfredo Tlahuice, Arturo Ponce, Miguel JoseYacaman.

University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

The fabrication of monodispersed nanoclusters with atomic precision carries significant attention as the properties can Graduate Poster be tuned by altering the number of atoms. The determination of structure of molecular nanocrystal by X-ray diffraction has been achieved only in few cases as it requires homogenous, high degree of ordering, single crystal of oriented molecules. In this paper, we present the fabrication of Au144(SR)60nanocluster having 144 number of atoms protected by 60 thiol molecules and their characterization using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). Au144(SR)60 nanocluster were synthesized using modified Brust’s method and etching in excess of thiols.

The obtained nanoclusters were characterized using UV/visible spectrometry and MALDI TOF mass spectrometry.

The mass spectrometry results confirmed the number of atoms present in the cluster. We used the combination of low voltage (80 kV) STEM electron diffraction and high angle annular dark field (HAADF) STEM images in a Cscorrected JEOL-JEM-ARM STEM to study the crystal structure. The electron diffraction patterns obtained from STEM are compared with the simulated diffraction patterns and HAADF-STEM images are compared with the theoretically simulated images. The simulated images and diffraction patterns are obtained from atomistic structural models


derived through first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The comparison between experimental (HAADF-STEM) images with the simulated images and the experimental diffraction patterns with the simulated diffraction patterns showed a very good agreement and we are able to determine the structure of Au144(SR)60 to be icosahedral structure.

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Samir Bhakta, Carlos Garcia.

University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

The development of novel analytical platforms is critical for the improvement of early diagnosis and for monitoring treatments of diseases. Point-of-care platforms can provide fast responses, decrease the overall cost of the treatment, allow for in-home use without a trained specialist, and improve the success of the treatment. The design of paperbased microfluidic devices can result in powerful diagnostic tools with high efficiency and versatility. Compared to traditional paper-based devices (such as reactive strips or ELISA-based kits), paper-based microfluidics are faster, more efficient, require smaller samples, and can perform multiple or complex biochemical reactions without external power or the risk of cross-contamination. Moreover, instead of being limited to a binary (negative/positive) response (e.g., pregnancy tests), paper-based microfluidic devices can also provide a visual range that is proportional to the concentration of a target marker. Considering the potential impact of this technology in oral health (e.g. periodontitis), the objective of this work was the development of microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (µPAD) to identify and quantify levels of nitrite in saliva. The devices were fabricated by wax printing and allowed the detection of nitrite (proposed marker of periodontitis) by a colorimetric reaction based on the Griess method. Results related to the design, characterization, and applications of the proposed devices are discussed along with the advantages of this technology.

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2-CYANO-3-PHENYL-2-PROPENOATES AND STYRENE Ahlam Shahbain, Gregory Kharas.

DePaul University, Chicago, IL.

Novel copolymers of trisubstituted ethylene monomers, ring-substituted methyl 2-cyano-3-phenyl-2-propenoates and styrene, (R-PhCH=C(CN)CO2CH3, where R is 2,4-dimethyl; 3,5-dimethyl; 4-methoxy-2-methyl; 4-ethoxy-3-methoxy;

3-ethoxy-4-methoxy; 3,4-dibenzyloxy; 3-benzyloxy-4-methoxy; 4-benzyloxy-3-methoxy; 2,3(methylenedioxy);4methyl-3-nitro) were prepared at equimolar monomer feed composition by solution copolymerization in the presence of a radical initiator (ABCN) at 70 °C. The compositionof the copolymers was calculated from nitrogen analysis, and the structures were analyzed by IR, 1H and 13C-NMR. Molecular mass and thermal behavior of thecopolymers was studied by GPC, DSC, and TGA.


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Oscar Hernandez Daguer1, Hernando Correa2, Ruben Vargaz Zapata3.

University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Mayagüez, PR, 2Universidad del Quindío, Armenia, CO, 3Universidad del 1 Valle, Cali, CO.

The phase behavior of K3H(SeO4)2 (TKHSe) above room temperature has been studied by differential scanning calorimetric (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), simultaneous thermogravimetric and differential scanning calorimetric analysis (SDT), impedance spectroscopy (IS), and X-ray powder diffraction (PXRD). According to previous reports, around 388 K (114.85 ˚C), TKHSe presents a superionic phase transition produced by a structural phase transition, with values of the dc-conductivity above the transition temperature greater than 10-3 Ω-l cm-1. Looking for new evidences about this process, additional and alternative measurements were performed on well characterized TKHSe samples, reporting new findings which to our knowledge have not been previously reported in literature.

The results show a process that start at 388 K which is accompanied by a slow thermal dehydration, at about the


superionic phase transition. We propose that the K3H(SeO4)2 undergoes a phase transition and simultaneously a decomposition process. Moreover, the observed decrease of the magnitude of conductivity on successive thermal runs is a consequence of decomposition that starts at the surface of the TKHSe grains, but the jump in conductivity is only a consequence of the order-disorder transition in the TKHSe phase that remains inside the grains.

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Jose Velez, George Tsoflias, Kees Van der Veen, Ross Black, Leigh Stearns.

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Jakobshavn Glacier is one of the fastest flowing glaciers on earth and the major discharging outlet glacier in Greenland, draining approximately 7% of the ice sheet. Studies from satellite imagery suggest that, in the past 2 decades, the Jakobshavn Glacier has experienced significant changes in ice discharge. Given the importance of this glacier to the stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet, ice flow modelers have tried to explain the recent behavior of the Jakobshavn Glacier. Gravitational and magnetic measurements collected over the Jakobshavn Glacier suggest that the ice/bed interface in the main trunk of the glacier is characterized by a sediment wedge of up to 2,400 m thick that reaches more than 54 km inland of the grounding line. Given the importance of this till layer for the flow behavior of the Jakobshavn Glacier, it is necessary to provide more evidence of the existence of this till layer. Therefore, in this investigation, we will re-process a 10 km seismic line collected by the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets.

The seismic source for the line was 500 g of pentaerythritoltetranitrate (PETN) at a depth of 10 m below the surface.

Twenty-four vertical-component geophones were placed at a spacing of 20 m along the profile. The minimum and maximum shot-receiver offsets were 10 m and 470 m, respectively. The seismic data will be migrated using multiple migration velocities in order to resolve sedimentary layers beneath the Jakobshavn Glacier and determine the thickness of the till layer for the area of study.

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Chris Crosby, Jake Bailey.

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

In 2-billion-year-old (2 Ga) phosphatic rock, we have identified filamentous features with characteristics reminiscent of fungal-like eukaryotes. Further, the rock shows evidence of the in situ weathering typical of ancient soil, or paleosol.

The significance of organisms, particularly fungal, in weathering is well recognized, the dominant mechanism being secretion of compounds that facilitate both mineral alteration and endolithic access. We hypothesize that this rock may contain remnants of an ancestral fungal-like organism that may have contributed to mineral alteration. Hence, we seek evidence addressing the biogenicity and morphology of the filaments, the presence of secondary minerals, and the relationship between them. In support of biogenicity and possible eukaryotic interpretation, we have obtained Raman spectral evidence of kerogen, a biologically-produced material, and 3D rendering of Raman data clarifying the presence of a central lumen and indicating multicellular morphology largely distinct to eukaryotes. Microprobe EDS indicates the presence of aluminum, which is common to many secondary minerals. Forthcoming micro-XRD analysis should further identify mineralogies and help clarify the stage of iron and/or clay mineral evolution, providing evidence for use in interpretation of this rock. Though morphologically ambiguous microfossils that may represent eukaryotes begin to appear in the rock record around 2 Ga ago, more clearly eukaryotic organisms do not appear for another ~800 million years. Evidence of eukaryotes in the 2Ga rock record would push their advent back hundreds of millions of years. Further, an association between ancient paleosols and eukaryotes may inform our understanding of Graduate

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Ballroom C - 117 2010-2011 BERGY BIT ESTIMATIONS ALONG THE NASA ICEBRIDGE FLIGHT LINE David Prado, Hongjie Xie, Steve Ackley.

University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

Iceberg distribution in the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Seas has not been well studied due to a limited number of shipbased observations and limited temporal coverage of active microwave satellite systems. While synthetic aperture radar satellite coverage has greatly increased the ability to detect medium-to-large icebergs in the southern oceans, small icebergs and bergy bits are still problematic to resolve from space. Digital mapping system (DMS) imagery from the 2010-10-30 flight line show 0.06% of the total coverage area (1,085 sq. km) to contain 0.16% of bergy bits. DMS

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imagery from the 2011-10-23 flight line show 0.0009% of the total coverage area (1,773 sq. km) contain bergy bits.

The small percentage of bergy bits (0.06% and 0.0009%) has little effect on the estimation of sea ice volume.

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KANSAS Luis Montalvo, Luis Gonzalez.

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

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