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         Blanchard Group Research Interests


Recent Publications:

  1. "Effect of Cu(II) on the Formation and Orientation of an Arachidic Acid Langmuir-Blodgett Film"

  2. "Flow-Through Catalytic Reductions using a Porous Silica Support: p-Coumaric Acid and Cinnamaldehyde"

  3. "Modulation of an Induced Charge Density Gradient in the Room-Temperature Ionic Liquid BMIM+BF4-"

Congrats to our recent graduates!

    Ke Ma, '19

Welcome to our newest group member!

      Iqbal Hossain, 2019

The ability to control the physical properties and chemical selectivity of an interface is an issue central to areas of science ranging from cellular function to heterogeneous catalysis and chemical sensing. The Blanchard group works on the design and synthesis of interfaces with an eye toward achieving this control. We are currently focusing our energies on catalytic and biomimetic systems because of their broad utility. We use picosecond nonlinear laser spectroscopies in conjunction with more traditional methods to address these problems.

Current interests include:

1. Using molecular diffusion to characterize interfacial heterogeneity

2. Biomimetic interfaces

3. Ionic liquids

Using molecular diffusion to characterize interfacial heterogeneity
Covalently bound interfacial adlayers are not fluid, and fluid adlayers are not physically or chemically robust. These limiting cases have frustrated advances in fields such as molecular-scale lubrication, chemical separations and cellular adhesion. We are developing a novel family of interfaces that can be bound to a surface and at the same time retain the properties of a fluid. Both the thermodynamic driving force for complexation and the kinetics of surface diffusion can be controlled through metal ion complexation, system pH, the surface complexing moieties, and the amphiphile headgroups.

Biomimetic interfaces
We are interested in model plasma membrane systems with applications where they function in a biomimetic manner. Previous studies have involved evaluating the effects of solvents such as ethanol and n-butanol on such systems. Currently, our research is geared toward studying the effects of anesthetics on model nerve cells.

Ionic liquids
Room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) have found use in a variety of practical applications. Despite their wide use, many fundamental issues remain in understanding dynamics, organization, and response of these materials to external forces. The Blanchard and Swain groups have demonstrated that RTILs in contact with a charged surface can exhibit a gradient in the dynamics of charged chromophores in the RTIL. We propose that RTILs can form free charge density gradients over microscopic distances when exposed to charged surface(s). Spatially-resolved spectroscopic data reveal persistent organization over ca. 100 μm induced in a RTIL by a charged support. This length scale is five orders of magnitude greater than the typical electric double layer seen in dilute solution, and its existence will prove to be transformative to our understanding and use of this class of materials.

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