Research Interests

My research group focuses on the characterization and use of novel metal and semiconductor nanomaterials in the development of new ultrasensitive chemical methods of detection and identification. In the past decade, numerous techniques, such as laser-induced fluorescence (LIF), have demonstrated the capability of detecting single analyte molecules. However, these techniques do not often provide sufficiently detailed structural information necessary for chemical identification. For example, LIF measurements yield little structural information while also requiring a fluorescent label that suffers from rapid photobleaching. Recent research has developed two new methods of detection that can overcome some of these drawbacks: (1) surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) on colloidal metal nanoparticles and (2) luminescent semiconductor nanocrystals (i.e., quantum dots). This research is interdisciplinary by nature and therefore exposes students to various aspects of laser spectroscopy, microscopy, biochemistry, molecular biology, photophysics, and materials science.

Educational & Professional Experience

  • B.S. California Lutheran University, 1993.
  • Ph.D. Indiana University, 1999.
  • Director Funded Postdoctoral Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1999-2001.
  • Assistant Professor, 2001-2007.
  • Associate Professor, 2007-present.
  • Faculty Co-Advisor, WWU Student ACS Chapter, 2006-present.
  • Visiting Fellow, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008-2009.
  • Director, Advanced Materials Science & Engineering Center, 2011-2013.