Researcher: Santanu Banerjee, Ph.D.
Dr. Santanu Banerjee, Chair of Physics Department, has focused his research building a Nanoscience lab on campus. Dr. Banerjee is growing nanoparticles, nanorods, and nanoprisms, characterizing these nanotools and using these nanosystems to develop nanosensors for sensitive detection of environmental contaminants and also in biomedical applications. He has partnered with researchers at Jackson State University (JSU) to develop an ultrasensitive nanomaterial resonance energy transfer (NSET) probe for the detection of arsenic and mercury in water. His lab is currently investigating how the sensitivity and mechanism varies with the gold particle sizes (from 1 nm to 100 nm) and particle shape (nanoparticle, nanorod and nanoprism). The details of the mechanism will be probed by correlating the photoluminescence (PL) and lifetime behavior for a set of dyes, at nanomaterial surface with different sizes and shapes.
Future experiments will be to demonstrate that the probe can detect arsenic and mercury simultaneously. Nanorods will be synthesized using a seed-mediated, surfactant-assisted growth method and analyzed by TEM and absorption spectroscopy. TEM analysis will be done in collaboration with Dr. Paresh C. Ray at JSU. We have no plans to add a TEM to the Tougaloo College microscopy and will continue our collaboration with JSU, a research intensive institution.
Undergraduates will be able to work in the Banerjee lab and continue their work in the JSU microscopy facility, strengthening the relationship between two HBCUs, and continuing to grow our national net of researchers for the future.
NSD expects to establish a NMR facility in the immediate future. Over the past fifty years nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy has become the preeminent technique for determing the structure of organic compounds. It is routinely used to determine both the bonding and stereochemistry of small molecules, peptides and proteins structures. Of all the spectroscopic methods, it is the only one for which a complete analysis and interpretation of the entire spectrum is normally expected. One draw back is that larger amounts of samples are required than needed for mass spectroscopy. The NMR facility will be an interdepartmental facility, open to all researchers of all the departments within the NSD. The NMR will support research programs of Hennington, Rajnarayanan, Biswas, Banerjee and other groups interested in chemical synthesis, polymer chemistry, materials science, biological sciences, and natural products. It will be Ethernet-linked to a number of Silicon Graphics and Windows computers for data analysis, computation and manipulation of three-dimensional structures. Tougaloo College researchers have a collaboration with the newly refurbished JSU NMR lab and can continue NMR data collection until the TC NMR is installed.