Chemistry and Biochemistry

Exploring the Chemistry of a Meteoritic Mineral

Project Description

The meteoritic mineral schreibersite is believed to have played an important role in the phosphorylation of the first biologically important molecules formed on the Early Earth. Using surface sensitive methods (i.e., infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry), students in the Abbott-Lyon lab will determine how active phosphorus species are released from schreibersite surfaces through corrosion.

The ultrahigh vacuum technology used in the Abbott-Lyon laboratory is similar to that used in the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries. Students will learn the underlying concepts of surface science and how to operate the experimental apparatus in the spring semester. Data collection will primarily occur during the summer months.

This is an ongoing and funded project in the Abbott-Lyon laboratory. It is anticipated that two new students will join the laboratory in January 2016 and will continue doing research through the summer of 2016. Course credit can be awarded in Spring 2016 (either CHEM 2050 for lower-division students or CHEM 4100 for upper-division students) and summer research stipends are available.

Project Department

Project Status

Seeking researchers

Researcher Requirements

Interested students must have earned at least an A or a B in CHEM 1211, CHEM 1212 and MATH 1190. Preference will be given to students who have completed additional course work in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering and/or Mathematics. Experience working with tools, machining, programming and using CAD software is helpful but not required as training will be provided. Students should be prepared to work with a variety of tools in the lab (e.g., metal files, drills, screw drivers, a dremel, etc.) to prepare samples and operate/maintain the experimental instrument. Most importantly, students should be open to learning!

Project Duration: 

Monday, January 11, 2016 to Friday, July 29, 2016


Heather Abbott-Lyon