2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Sol-gel Thin Film Preparation and Applications
Michael L. Sebek*, Matthew J. Henry, and Nathaniel P. Endicott
Dr. David McCurdy, Faculty Mentor

Oxysilane compounds can be readily polymerized into silica gels that have many properties useful in the preparation of chemical sensing tools. These materials, often called sol-gels, are porous and have glass-like optical properties, which allow for potential applications in areas of analytical chemistry such as optical spectroscopy, filtration membranes and molecule entrapment. This projects immediate goals are the preparation and characterization of silica gel thin films (~1 micron thick). The sol-gels were qualitatively assessed by light microscopy, the observation of trapped fluorescent molecules using laser light, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Current SEM imagery from the last two semesters suggests that sol-gel thin films have been prepared with adequate quality to permit the exploration of analytical applications. Future objectives of the project include the entrapment of compounds with sensor capabilities inside of silica gels and the preparation of selective membranes for purposes such as filtering and chromatography.

Keywords: sol-gels, chemical sensors, fluorescence, spectroscopy, oxysilanes

Topic(s):Chemistry

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 104-4
Location: MG 2090
Time: 8:45

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