Title page for ETD etd-02032009-052713

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Uzarski, Joshua Robert
Author's Email Address juzarski@vt.edu
URN etd-02032009-052713
Title Reflection Absorption Infrared Spectroscopic Studies of Surface Chemistry Relevant to Chemical and Biological Warfare Agent Defense
Degree PhD
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Morris, John R. Committee Chair
Anderson, Mark R. Committee Member
Gandour, Richard D. Committee Member
Long, Gary L. Committee Member
Wi, Sungsool Committee Member
  • quaternary ammonium cation
  • surface chemistry
  • antimicrobial peptides
  • ultrahigh vacuum
  • chemical warfare agent simulants
Date of Defense 2009-01-19
Availability unrestricted
Reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy was used as the primary analysis technique to study the interfacial chemistry of surfaces relevant to chemical and biological warfare agent defense. Many strategies utilized by the military to detect and decompose chemical and biological warfare agents involve their interaction with surfaces. However, much of the chemistry that occurs at the interface between the agents and surfaces of interest remains unknown. The surface chemistry plays an important role in efficacy of both detection and decontamination technology, and by obtaining a deeper understanding of that chemistry, researchers might be able to develop more sensitive detection devices and more effective decontamination strategies. Our efforts have focused on three different areas of surface chemistry relevant to chemical and biological warfare agent defense:

1) The development of a surface synthesis strategy to create and control the structure of antibacterial self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Our work demonstrated a successful strategy for creating SAMs that contain long-chain quaternary ammonium groups, which were synthesized and subsequently characterized using RAIRS and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

2) The determination of the surface conformation, orientation, and relative surface density of immobilized antimicrobial peptides. Our results revealed that the peptides consisted of tilted (50-60°), α-helices on the surface, regardless of solution conditions.

3) The design and construction of a new ultrahigh vacuum surface science instrument that allows for the study of gas-surface reactions with up to three gases simultaneously.

4) The study of the adsorption of chemical warfare agent simulants to silica nanoparticulate films. Our work demonstrated that the adsorbate structure was dependent on the number of hydrogen-bonding groups, and the adsorption consists of a pressure-dependent two part mechanism.

The results presented here will help increase the understanding of the surface chemistry of three interfaces relevant to chemical and biological defense. Future researchers may apply the new information to develop more effective detection and decontamination strategies for chemical and biological warfare agents.

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