Mike and the group are pleased to share that we have been awarded an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund award in support of our research. The project, slated to begin September 1st, 2020, will investigate the interactions of organic matter in sedimentary rocks using low-frequency vibrational spectroscopy. Specifically, the group will use terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) to probe the dynamics of organic matter (i.e. kerogen and bitumen) in rock samples. This will make use of the fact that many common minerals, for example quartz, are transparent to terahertz radiation, meaning measurements can potentially be performed in situ.
We will also make use of the recently installed tip-enhanced Raman spectrometer (TERS) to directly study the interaction of the organic with the surface of the minerals. This will not only aid in understanding the fundamental dynamics of these composite materials, but will have far-reaching implications in understanding how organic molecules interact with inorganic surfaces in general. This will provide insight and open doors into new research directions in the group, for example understanding the dynamics of surface sites used in catalysis.
We thank the generosity of the ACS PRF for this award, and look forward to all of the cool science we will be able to do.