Research in my group tends to be multidisciplinary and there are strong aspects of physics, analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry in our projects, but the primary focus revolves around the unifying themes of photonics, lasers, instrumentation and spectroscopy.
We have recently made fundamental breakthroughs in solubilizing carbon nanotubes and have developed solvent systems that will truely dissolve single wall nanotubes and graphene and create thermodynamically stable solutions. This discovery contradicts the general assumption that no solvent would dissolve nanotubes and graphite. As part of our collaboration with Trinity College Dublin-Physics and the group of Professor Jonathan Coleman, we published a fundamental paper in Advanced Materials in which we definitively proved that the Gibbs Free Energy of Solution was Negative for single wall nanotubes (SWNTs) in NMP solvent, contrary to conventional chemical history and wisdom (here's the abstract). This work was featured in Science as an Editors Choice, "Can nanotubes swim apart?" and in Chemical and Engineering News in Science and Technology Concentrates. We continue to make great strides in nano solubility using graphene, multiwall nanotubes and nanocellulose. For the nanocellulose, we have just started a collaboration with the US Forest Products Laboratory. Numerous patents through WiSys/WARF are pending resulting from this work.
also are particularly interested in the analysis of optical surface
cleanliness to support our work in developing polymer stripcoatings for
optics and Contamination Control for spacecraft with NASA.
Our efforts in this area include exciting collaborations and visits to
the worlds largest telescopes atop Mauna
Kea Hawaii, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich and Chile,
at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab and the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Recently nanosecond laser
damage studies clearly showed that our polymer coatings leave no
residue upon removal and are high power laser safe. Laser Damage
Testing(LDT) continues. Also using our Contiuum nanosecond optical
parametric oscillator OPO
system, the Perkin Elmer Lambda 900
UV/VIS/NIR and Princeton
photon counting ICCD spectroscopic camera, we are studying the
correlations in the chemical and physical origins of diamond
luminescence with lots of samples from the national mineral collection
at the Smithsonian. Surface cleanliness is of fundamental importance in
many areas and our group works with NSF's Gravity Wave Observatory, LIGO (The Laser
interfereomtric Gravity Observatory) based at Caltech and MIT, and with
two Dark Matter search collaborations, COUPP
(The Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particle Physics) at the
University of Chicago and Fermilab and CDMS (The Cryogenic Dark Matter
Search) located in the Soudan Mine in Minnesota.
Also, working with Fermilab scientists and engineers, we have just
published a paper using our polymer technology on the CMOS CCD sensors
of the Dark
Energy Survey Camera where we used nanotube doped, ESD free films
to clean and protect the delicate camera sensors.
We also work closely with colleagues within the department and university and have built photon counting, laser induced fluorescence systems for capillary electrophoresis with Professor Steiner, DNA Electrophoresis imaging systems with Professor Mendis , graphene functionalization and Chromone Laser Dye Synthesis with Professor Li. We have been working on a novel method of fingerprint development from unusual surfaces with the Madison, Wisconsin Crime Lab, the US Secret Service in Washington and Aric Dutelle in Criminal Justice. We are part of an international collaboration with Electrical Engineering at the Dublin Institute of Technology and the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany we are on our 3rd masters student (and now our first PhD) and have been working on novel, inexpensive and practical Alkaline Fuel Cell technology.
My students & I have done research with
and/or work at:
Argonne National Laboratory's - Advanced Photon Source - Synchrotron
Argonne National Laboratory's - Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Jefferson National Lab's Free Electron Laser Facility
Fermilab: Dark Energy Survey Camera , Cryogenic Search for Dark Matter (CDMS) and COUPP Dark Matter Bubble Chamber.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Gem Collection - Nanosecond Diamond luminescence correlation studies.
The Keck and Gemini Telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii - Developing in-situ cleaning methods for large primary mirrors.
Dublin Institute of Technology, Electrical and Controls Engineering and Gaskatel, Kassel, Germany- Fuel Cells
University of Applied Science - Germany, Fuel Cells and Nanocomposit Materials
Trinity College - Dublin Physics - Nanotubes and Polymer Modified Carbon Nanotubes materials and Spectroscopic Characterization of Liganded Rare Earth Compounds(Chemistry)
Our work has resulted inthe start up of two companies:
Photonic Cleaning Technologies, LLC, Platteville, WI, USA - Manufacturer of First Contact Polymer, Sales in 62 Countries
Xolve, Inc., Platteville, WI, USA
Hamilton Group Past and Present Research and Development Projects:
Design, Characterization and Synthesis of Chromone Laser Dyes
Surface And Optical Characterization of Polymer Strip Coatings for Optics and Astronomy
Double Resonance IR/VIS Fluorescence Detection using the National Free Electron Laser Facility in Newport News, Virginia