Sheng Zhou, 2014, Chemistry
My work with the Koel group on iron-coated nanoparticles focused on optimizing aqueous transport methods. These nanoparticles have been shown to be able to bioremediate groundwater by becoming food for bacteria that can render heavy metals such as uranium immobile in groundwater. However, often the nanoparticles are not able to move through soil due to their charge. My project involved coating iron nanoparticles with polymers to enhance transport through soil. I worked with a post-doc on the project and together characterized polymer PAA6K’s iron nanoparticles transport properties. I gained experience using a spectrophotometer, TOC analyzer, and Zetasizer in addition to designing experiments. My main responsibilities involved creating suspensions and controlling for the pH of different solutions. I also synthesized iron nanoparticles and measured how well bacteria responded to polymer coated nanoparticles. I am a Chemistry major and this experience provided me with valuable lab experience ahead of my junior paper.