Probing Nanomaterials in Energy, Health and the Environment
Our research is multidisciplinary and the publications with PDF files can be found at www.enme.umd.edu/~mrz -click on publications link.
The focus of our research is two fold:
a. Developing analytic tools (Nanolytics) to study nanoparticles and nanowires.
b. Developing using aerosol methods new materials with application to energy and nanomedicine.
Our focus is on aerosol based methods for which we have developed new mass-spectrometric and ion-mobility methods to probe the behavior and function of nanoparticles and nanowires. A typical question for example might be, can we determine in solution what the surface coating is on a nanoparticle, and how is it oriented ? These questions are relevant to material contaminants in the environment, the use of nanoparticles in medicine, and the manufacturing of nanomaterials in industry.
Recently we have developed electrospray atmospheric ion mobility spectrometry to measure the orientation of SAM’s on nanoparticles and their binding energy as a function of particle size. This work has been extended to determine the orientation of DNA binding on Au NP’s which have relevance to medicinal chemistry. We have also used these methods to study the reaction kinetics of solar driven chemistry to generate hydrogen from water, in which we obtain the detailed behavior of how nanoparticles react as a function of particle size. We have applied these methods very recently to probe the interaction of proteins, in particular antibody binding to nanoparticles, and there aggregation behavior in solution. We have a strong collaboration with atmospheric sciences in which we make and characterize environmental aerosols relevant to global climate change. In particular we are now trying to understand how coated soot particles might enhance absorption of sunlight and lead to enhanced global warming.
Over the past year we developed a new T-Jump Time-of-Flight mass spectrometer to measure ultrafast condensed state reactions at higher temperatures with a resolution of 100 μs. Here we are able to see how nanoparticles of metal react with metal oxide to liberate energy.
Finally our group has been active in materials synthesis using aerosol routes. Our current activities involve developing a new class of porous nanoparticles in which we are collaborating with pharmacologists to apply them to targeted cancer therapies. We are beginning a new project on composite nanowire based architectures to generate hydrogen from solar electrochemical reactions.
Electrospray mobilty spectrometer and spectrum of bare vs DNA coated Au