CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS CHEMISTRY
The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry is a Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation sponsored by a $20M, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The mission of the Center is to conduct curiosity-driven and use-inspired research to enhance the green chemistry toolbox with new methods and new techniques that will advance the scientific enterprise and transform the next generation of products.
OSU Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Douglas A. Keszler, Center Director, leads the efforts of five partner academic research institutions – University of Oregon, University of California·Davis, University of California·Berkeley, Washington University·St Louis, and Rutgers University. Center research is focused on developing and understanding basic materials and green chemistry concepts that can pave the way for next-generation applications of a wide variety of high-performance electronic devices applicable in such fields as integrated-circuit manufacturing, solar energy, and medicine.
The Center is involved in numerous education and outreach activities. A graduate-level, three-work immersion course introduces green-chemistry concepts around a group research project that culminates in the submission and publication of a scientific article. A pre-first-year undergraduate immersion course is being designed to cover the concepts of general chemistry, providing an accelerated path to degree for high-achieving students. Through a partnership with Hermiston High School, Center graduate students are being placed in Hermiston on six-week internships, serving as near-peer mentors to improve student performance in chemistry. Center Outreach Days are being held in each county throughout Oregon with a purpose to build awareness of how chemistry creates the foundation for a healthy economy and contributes to sustainability and societal well-being.
Through webinars and workshops, the Center educates in the area of innovation. Students, faculty, and partners learn how to recognize value in their research and how to translate that value to the market. Through these efforts, the Center has contributed to the founding of venture-backed Inpria Corp. and fledgling Amorphyx, Inc.
In 2005, Richard Nafshun taught the first OSU general chemistry online chemistry section for 4 students. Things have changed! This year, 30 online chemistry sections delivered by 7 instructors will have a combined enrollment of about 1500 students. Wait a minute, online chemistry…what about the labs? Many of these classes don’t have labs (CH331 or CH411, for example), and some are taught as hybrids where students participate remotely and also visit OSU to perform labs. Four of the online gen chem classes, aimed at non-science majors, use an online chemistry lab program. Seeing the need for this capability three years ago, Michael Lerner, Richard Nafshun, and Michael Schuyler of OSU Chemistry teamed up with local software developers to create OnlineLabs, LLC.
The current program generation (demos at www.OnlineChemLabs.com) contains a set of 25 virtual labs that can support a full year of gen chem. The labs are based on real experiments and allow students to generate data that incorporate both random and systematic error. There are some advantages to online delivery – students can be exposed to modern techniques that don’t work in on campus labs – they may be too costly, time consuming, dangerous, or resource-limited. Some examples include NMR, calorimetry, osmotic pressure, electroplating, nuclear chemistry, and combustion analysis.
Below is a screen capture of a typical online lab environment. Using the computer mouse, students manipulate reagents, labware, and instruments on the left-side lab screen, while recording data and answering questions on the right.
Chemistry online? How is that possible? More and more students are finding that taking an OSU Chemistry class online is not only possible, but is a great way to meet the requirements of their degree program in a way that fits well in their life.
During the 2010/2011 academic year, students took more than 5000 credit hours of Chemistry classes online, second only to the Fisheries and Wildlife department in number of student credit hours. Most terms, about 15 classes are offered, including 2 different series of General Chemistry and the complete Organic Chemistry series. The CH 121/122/123 series is completely online, with the labs provided by OnLineChemLabs. For the higher level classes, the labs are offered in a condensed format that make it easy for distance students to travel to campus for a short time (like a 3 day weekend) to complete their requirements.
Who are our students? Our online instructors have students from all over the world, including students in the military in Afghanistan. Our students include working people that want to complete their degrees, spouses of military personnel, stay-at-home parents, and many others. Some on campus OSU students have found that taking their chemistry online fits well in their schedule as well.
ELECTRON MICROSCOPY FACILITY
The Electron Microscopy Facility (EMF) at Oregon State University (OSU) is a service facility providing faculty, staff, students, and collaborators access to electron microscopes and related instrumentation. EMF was created in 1967 in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Botany and Plant Pathology to support life and materials sciences research programs, and is now affiliated to College of Science. EMF receives support from the Office of Vice-President for Research and the facility’s client colleges, and is overseen by a steering committee whose members are from the client colleges. The Facility is located in the 145 EM Suite of the new Linus Pauling Science Center.
The EMF currently has three scanning electron microscopes (SEM). One is an FEI Quanta 3D Dual Beam SEM, which incorporates a focused ion beam (FIB) that may be used for micro-machining and sample preparation of specimens for study by transmission electron microcopy (TEM). The ion beam can also be profitably used to machine new surfaces on specimens, which if imaged and chemically analyzed, can be used to develop visual 3D image and (elemental) chemistry information about specimens. Our second SEM is an FEI Quanta 600F Environmental SEM, an instrument best suited for studies of specimens under different environmental conditions. In this microscope, humidity, temperature, and/or vacuum conditions can be maintained – or changed – during an examination, which expands the wealth of information that can be obtained from suitable samples subjected to different levels of humidity, temperature, and pressure. Our third SEM is the FEI Nova NanoSEM 230 Ultra-high Resolution SEM, required if the goal of your microscopy is to image nanostructured materials. With a Through-Lens Detector (TLD), it offers a better resolution at low voltage (1.6 nm) than that (2.9 nm) offered by Quanta SEMs. All SEMs have X-Ray chemical analysis capability. In addition, the Quanta 3D SEM/FIB is enhanced by E-Beam Lithography, Electron Backscattered Diffraction (EBSD) and Orientation Imagining Microscopy (OIM) capabilities. A cathodoluminescence (CL) detector for imaging materials, which fluoresce at visible/near photon wavelengths under electron beam excitation, will be added soon. Complimenting our SEMs, funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF MRI, award # 1040588), Murdock Charitable Trust, ONAMI, OSU Research Office and several OSU academic colleges, have provided us with an advanced high resolution transmission electron microscope, an FEI Titan 80-200 (TEM). This TEM incorporates the newest X-Ray chemical analysis (ChemiSTEM) and Electron Energy-Loss Spectrometry (EELS), augmented by an in-situ heating stage, a double-tilt sample holder, a cryo-stage for ultra-low temperature microscopy, and tomography for 3D specimen image reconstruction. The new TEM makes it possible to do chemical analysis with sub-nanometer resolution and is especially suited to investigating compounds at atomic levels.
The EMF provides training sessions to students, staff, and faculty. Electronic card access allows authorized operators 24/7 access to the Facility. EMF seeks collaborations with faculty, students from OSU, other universities, and with researchers affiliated with national laboratories and industry. We anticipate increasingly important collaborative roles providing electron microscopy services to Pacific Northwest technical and research endeavors and explorations. More information about EMF can be found at website: http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/emfacility.
(Provided by Dr. Yi Liu, Director of EMF)
Linus Pauling Science Center
By Professor Kevin P. Gable (Department Chair 2006-2011)
Last fall, the University held a celebration of all the work and the significant sacrifices many of our friends have made to make the Linus Pauling Science Center come into being. This was a signature component of The Campaign for OSU designed to showcase the University’s strategic commitment to research and education in areas related to human health. We in the Department take immense pride in being part of this project: this is the first new space for the Department in 30 years, and the first state-of-the-art research lab space we have occupied since construction of Weniger Hall in the 1950s. It stands now as a milestone. It marks where we are, it brings the history of where we have been, and it sets us up for where we are headed.
In the spring of 2007, LPSC was little more than a dream. The Department had partnered with the Linus Pauling Institute to tackle the project; we needed to seek donors for 50% of the funding and state bonding authority for the rest. Through hard work by our friends at the OSU Foundation, and incredible generosity by a series of donors, we lined up the private funding needed. Notably, one of our major donors instituted a brilliant idea: the Wayne & Gladys Valley Foundation made their $20 million donation contingent on our raising an additional set of donations totaling $15 million that will provide ongoing support for activity in the building by Chemistry and LPI faculty. The Reser family contributed an additional $10 million. The state committed the bonding authority soon thereafter. The real work of making these promises into reality began.
We knew from the start that we had to live with some limitations—the footprint of the building would not allow us to move the entire department, so we had to make a choice about what functions we were going to serve. We had an open, deliberative process that identified a number of priorities. Safety, and the design limitations of Gilbert Hall, were first on the list. We explored the needs of some of our subgroups—the materials chemists, the physical chemists—but concluded as a group that the greatest need would be served (and more existing problems solved) by placing organic and analytical chemists in the new space. Not unrelated was the opportunity for each of these groups to have productive interactions with the LPI investigators who would share the building. It’s useful to note that we are pioneering a new way of thinking about space and facilities as the University embarks on a long-term renewal of its physical plant. LPSC is one of a new generation of buildings designed more around function (shared across users) than around administrative units—this reflects better how we now work across traditional boundaries.
We engaged in two years of planning, and worked through the challenges of thinking about space in new ways. We adopted a maxim early on that helped a lot: , we were going to choose carefully what we did and make sure we did it extremely well. We designed a modern lecture theater that could adapt to new pedagogy. We designed new instructional lab space that would allow us (or even force us) to employ green chemistry principles—and use those as a teaching tool. We designed open, modular research labs, and designed in the cooperative use of support space and facilities. We relied heavily on several partners in our design team: architects and lab designers from Zimmer, Grunsul & Frasca; representatives of the OSU Foundation; the folks from Anderson Construction who were going to make our ideas real.
A lot of the work lay in the details. What color should the floors be? What finish on the office door frames? What material for the lab benches? What font should the signs use? All of these required us to listen to each others’ preferences and come to a conclusion that fit with the overall design in the building. After we broke ground in the summer of 2009, we still had choices to make, and we had to adapt to changes in the Department. We were building during one of the biggest student population growth spurts in University history—and we needed to make sure our instructional space could meet the expanded need. We were also hiring new faculty, each bringing a hope to help design their new research space. We had to manage evolving expectations but still keep to the original design as much as possible. In the end, we came in on time (almost to the day) and under budget. I’m not aware of any other major research university that has built a chemistry building and done that…it was hard!
So we approach new opportunities and new challenges. We have housed more than half our students in modern new space, with a healthier, safer work environment. We are teaching in state-of-the art space, using new information delivery technology. And we are doing this with more students than we have ever had before. Due in part to funding from NSF and the Murdock Trust (as well as from the University Research Office), we have brand new cutting edge NMR and electron microscopy facilities being used by several hundred researchers from across campus, and we put these on full display for the thousands of students that pass through the student street each week. These facilities are now the best of their kind on the West Coast. The Department of Chemistry makes the major use of the 180-seat auditorium, serving more than 1200 of the 1500 students using that room each term.
As we face more growth over the coming years, it is clear that we will need additional space configured to meet the needs of a changing University. I recall at both the groundbreaking and the dedication, Mrs. Pat Reser, one of the major donors for the building, brought a shovel as a symbol. At the groundbreaking ceremony, it was obvious why. At the dedication, she brought it back—to drive home that we have more yet to do.
I hope you have the chance to come to campus and see what we are doing with LPSC. It is the biggest academic construction project ever on the OSU campus. It shows—and it helps us raise our sights even that much further. If you have made a donation to OSU since the beginning of the Campaign for OSU, I want to thank you particularly, because you helped us meet the goals that were set in order to get the funding to build LPSC. We are looking ahead to the next building, but doing so by showcasing our work in the one we have.