Students take Action in the Gulf
This past Labor Day weekend, five chemistry students accompanied Professor Larsen on a tour of the coastlines of Mississippi and Louisiana to learn more about the effects of the BP oil spill. They brought back samples of the beach sand and water to study back at St. Mary's and to further their understanding of the many environmental issues facing the gulf.
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Chem majors in San Francisco
From left to right: Brian, JP, Dr. Leah Eller, Rob, Nick, Danielle, Mike, Bertrand, Anita, Janice, Dr. Andy Koch, Tabitha (Now Dr. Clem), and Taylor. Emilie and Kristina couldn't make the photo.
Last Spring, 12 St. Mary's students attended the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Fransico. Eight presented their work and we all met after Tabitha Clem's ('05) talk. Tabitha was just finishing up her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley.
"Constructing a Superior Arsenic Detector"
Mentor: Dr. Randolph K. Larsen III
St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2005-2006
Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. Over the past few years arsenic concentrations in groundwater have become a serious environmental concern. For this reason it has become critical to identify methods of measuring trace levels of arsenic that are inexpensive and field deployable. In response to this we have constructed an inexpensive, sensitive, and field deployable instrument that measures trace levels of inorganic arsenic. This instrument uses an intense chemiluminescent reaction between arsine and ozone over a photomultiplier tube (PMT) to correlate the intensity of the light emitted to the concentration of arsenic in the water. The instrument uses a syringe pump to distribute the proper amount of the reagents to a reaction chamber where the sample is first acidified then the As is reduced to arsine using sodium borohydride. The arsine is then pumped along with the ozone to the reaction cell over the PMT. The preliminary trials using this newly constructed instrument indicate an unknown error in the amplifier circuit causing the signal to remain a constant +15 volts which matches the voltage from the power supply. Once remedied the instrument should function properly.