Using optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy in the chemistry labs

Elizabeth Laudadio ’15, Student Researcher

Major: Chemistry

Research Group: Chen Group

I study the drying dynamics of gold nanoparticle-poly(vinyl alcohol) conjugate solutions drop-cast on substrates with varying wettabilities. The deposit patterns that are formed in this process, commonly known as "coffee rings", are the result of convective force pushing the nanoparticle-polymer conjugates towards the edges of the droplet as the solvent evaporates. Using Optical Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy, I have been studying how surface hydrophobicity and ambient humidity affect deposit pattern formation.

At Mount Holyoke, students are able to learn in collaborative and supportive environments. The Chemistry Department encourages students to think analytically, seek out new opportunities, and recognize challenges as important learning experiences. The coursework for the Chemistry major allows students to gain not only depth and breadth of knowledge, but also the confidence to participate in research at Mount Holyoke and beyond.