Texas Tech University

Grant Funds at Work

Gamez Gets $381,000 NSF Grant to Develop
Better Way of Mapping 3-D Chemical Profiles

Gerardo Gamez gets $381,000 NSF grant; TTU photo by Toni Salama

Gerardo Gamez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has been awarded a grant from the Chemical Measurement and Imaging program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Chemistry. The 3 year grant of $381,127 (of which $271,127 has been awarded to date) will allow Gamez and his research team to work toward developing a fast and affordable technique to create 3-D images, or "maps," of a sample's chemical profile in terms of quality and quantity. With current technology, obtaining this 3-D imagery is time consuming and expensive.

According to theresearch abstract, Gamez wants to create a glow discharge optical spectroscopic technique that can map the distribution of a sample's elements more than 1,000 times faster than conventional methods.

In glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES), a plasma is generated between an electrode and the sample being tested. The plasma removes atoms from the sample surface and excites them, which causes them to produce light. The light colors (or wavelengths) and their intensity can then be used to identify and quantify the elements in the sample because each element emits light with a unique color fingerprint.

The research of Gamez and his team could result in a new analytical technique that will make 3-D elemental mapping a routine diagnostic tool. In this case, it would greatly benefit industry and scientific research fields, from materials to biological sciences.

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