CAMP Professor ’s Former Post Doctoral Student Developed Material to Capture Cosmic Particles
Senior University Professor Richard Partch’s former post doctoral student Steven M. Jones developed material to capture cosmic particles. He prepared the aerogel material that was placed aboard the Stardust Space Probe for capturing cometary and interstellar particles. Dr. Jones worked with Professor Partch at Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing for over a year. His post doctoral project involved the successful synthesis of organometallic compounds for improved catalytic ability to separate nitrogen from oxygen. This work was funded by Praxair. Prior to that, Jones pursued graduate studies at Clarkson in developing new sol-gel techniques for producing microemulsion-gel glasses. He completed his doctorate in physical chemistry at Clarkson University in 1994. Professor Stig Friberg, a former professor and chair of Clarkson’s Department of Chemistry, served as his mentor.
Dr. Jones joined the Aerogel Development and Production Team for the Stardust Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1996 and developed a method of producing the material used aboard Stardust. "The challenge," says Jones, "was to develop a material robust enough to stand up to the rigors of space travel, yet delicate enough to embed minuscule bits of rock and galactic dust and bring them back to Earth. Aerogel is a lightweight, air-filled solid foam with millions of holes to trap and hold stellar particles." Jones also assembled the collectors by manually inserting the aerogel material into the collector grids.
Dr. Jones has been busy with other aerogel projects since the 1999 Stardust launch. Currently he is working with the Thermoelectric Group at JPL, to develop aerogel for use as a thermal insulator and sublimation inhibitor for new thermoelectric devices. Also he is the principal investigator of a NASA Planetary Instrument Definition and Design Project, which will develop, produce and test non-silicate aerogels for future sample capture and return missions. In addition, Dr. Jones is the author of more than 30 scientific journal articles and has received several NASA awards and commendations, including a NASA Space Act Award in 2003.
CAMP’s Unique Instrument is a Combination of State-of-the-Art Advanced Microscopes
CAMP has a unique instrument which is a combination of three state-of-the-art microscopes: Scanning Laser Confocal Microscope (Nikon C1), Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM, Nanonics M100), and a Confocal Raman Spectrometer (Renishaw InVia). The combined microscopes make it possible to image materials at the highest resolution available and to obtain chemical information of the imaged areas with resolutions up to one micron in all three directions. Also the advanced assembly of four lasers allows for work with both inorganic and organic materials. CAMP Professor Sokolov’s work involves the combined use of the Confocal Raman Spectrometer and the Scanning Probe Microscope. This makes it possible to attain Raman chemical mapping (tip-enhanced Raman mode) with molecular resolution. Furthermore, this unique combination will be able to provide information about chemical structure while collecting direct force measurements with the SPM.
CAMP Professor Igor Sokolov Receives Promotion and Tenure
Assistant Professor of Physics, Igor Sokolov has been promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure. Sokolov received a Ph.D. from D. I. Mendeleev Metrology Institute, Russia, and completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Toronto. Sokolov’s research interests include Biological Physics, Advanced Materials, and Atomic Force Microscopy. Major focus areas of this research are on the aging of human cells, self-assembly of nanostructured functional colloids, and self-healing materials. His work on aging cells was highlighted on the front page of the May 2004 issue of APS News magazine, the monthly news periodical of the American Physical Society. It has also been included in newspapers throughout the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Portugal, and South Africa, and in a variety of popular magazines like Skin & Aging, Advance News, BBC HealthNews, etc. An over view of his research appeared in the New Scientist in March of 2005. In addition, his recent work (on aging and on cancerous cells) was featured (along with 50 other papers all of which were selected from over 6500 submitted articles) by the American Institute of Physics at their APS meeting in March 2006.
Professor Sokolov’s research has received support from agencies including NSF, NYSERDA, NYSTAR (CAMP), and the ARO. Also funds have been provided by companies like Rohm and Haas (Rodel), Procter and Gamble, CFI, Inc, and Arkema Group, Inc. Since starting his position at Clarkson in August 2000, the total number of grants received by him for the University has been 24 (of which Dr. Sokolov served as the PI on 19 of them and as the leading Co-PI on one of them). The total cost of these supported projects is $2,958,000.00.