Accidental nanoparticles in the environment: the nanoplastic pollution problem

When you hear the term “plastic pollution,” what do you think of? If you’re like me, you might picture a pile of garbage on a beach, or microplastic beads inside a fish. Most of us are aware that plastic pollution can be found everywhere. But you might be surprised to learn that "everywhere" in this …

Authentic Research Experiences Amid The Pandemic

On a lovely spring day, as I was lying on the Skinner Green and soaking up the sun, my phone buzzed. It was an email from the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN) regarding my application for their Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. My heart dropped a beat when I glimpsed the content of the email and …

How is a shopping cart like a nanoparticle? What coarse-grained molecular models can show us about nano-bio interactions

Imagine you work at a grocery store and you need to figure out how many shopping carts will fit in a certain space. You know that each shopping cart is 33 inches long, but you might decide to round that up to 36 inches (3 feet) for your estimation: That rounding is just one example …

Engineered gold nanoparticles can be like ice cream scoops covered in chocolate sprinkles

There are many ways to interrogate molecular phenomena. You might think that this is restricted to physical measurements such as direct observation with a microscope, a laser, or more seemingly arcane observation with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). But I’m happy to report that observation of computer simulations is yet another, as long as our models …

A Holiday Sustainable Nano Riddle: How does a polymer wrap around a nanoparticle? Like a ball of yarn, or like a bow on a gift box?

Holiday nanoparticle

The title of this post presents a riddle similar to the one that I solved along with my advisor, Professor Rigoberto Hernandez, in a recent article published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.1 Nanoparticles are often made of a core (for example gold, silver, quantum dots, etc.) coated with molecules called ligands or polymers …

A Quick Peek Into Computational Chemistry

When talking about chemists, what image comes to your mind? Labs, tubes, beakers, colorful solutions, turning dirt into gold... Yes, yes, those images represent some parts of chemistry in a general way, but did you know that there exists a group of chemists whose main task is to code? (For example, check out this video.) …

How do nanomaterials from e-waste transform in water? Computational chemistry helps find the answer

e-waste

The development of nanotechnology has been an exciting route to chemical innovation that has changed the way that we live. Fields as diverse as medicine, water treatment, and energy storage have all used nanoscale devices and nano-sized architectures to improve technologies related to human health, communications, and transportation. Nano is big business and projected to …

What is Machine Learning and How is it Changing Physical Chemistry and Materials Science?

Go

When I talk about artificial intelligence (AI), the usual images that come to mind are from fiction: Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the cyborg from The Terminator, or perhaps the gloomy world of The Matrix. Since March 2016, however, the poster child for real-world AI has become AlphaGo, the computer program developed by Google Deepmind …