Brandon Schabes



Phone:  541.346.4648







Chemistry B.A. w/ Honors (2011)

Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI

Surface Activity of Coated Nanoparticles at the oil/water interface

Interfacial chemistry defines the activities of an enormous number of systems, including those related to biology, atmospheric science, and materials research. Interfaces between an oil and water can represent systems as varied as cellular membranes, environmental pollutants, food science, and cosmetics. Nanomaterials are a promising area for future study in all of the above systems, yet their specific characteristics are still being realized. I work with coated silica nanoparticles at the water/carbon tetrachloride interface using sum-frequency vibrational spectroscopy (SFS). Because SFS is a nonlinear process, it is forbidden in centrosymmetric media, and thus interface specific. By probing vibrational modes from nanoparticle ligands, we can correlate pH, concentration, functional group, and other solutes with specific interfacial activity. Currently, I am studying how low pH can reversibly drive carboxylic acid coated nanoparticles to the interface. In the future, I will be looking at the activity of amines and sodium dodecyl sulfate. For a full explanation of the interface, we corroborate our SFS results with dynamic light scattering, zeta potential, and pendant drop tensiometry data. We have recently acquired a new laser system which will allow us to probe previously unattainable vibrational modes.


Zaitseva, N.; Glenn, A.; Carman, L.; Hatarik, R.; Hamel, S.; Faust, M.; Schabes, B.; Cherepy, N.; Payne, S. Pulse Shape Discrimination in Impure and Mixed Single-Crystal Organic Scintillators. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science 2011, 58, 3411–3420.


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