Jennifer Giaccai, Graduate Student, Miller Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

Investigating Soot Formation with Spectroscopic and Computational Methods
Fri, 18 February, 2022 2:00pm
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Jennifer Giaccai, Graduate Student, Miller Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry Presents:  Jennifer Giaccai, Graduate Student, Miller Lab, GW Department of Chemistry and Conservation Scientist at the Smithsonian Institution

Soot is both a useful industrial product and a source of significant air pollution and health concerns. Moreover, soot is a complex molecular aggregate with millions of carbon atoms in a structure that is still unknown. Better understanding of the molecular structure of soot and the processes of soot formation will allow for designing better combustion systems to minimize air pollution and their associated health concerns. Raman spectroscopy elucidates molecular information about the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules that compose soot. Density functional theory can provide information about the electronic structure and HOMO-LUMO gap (HLG) of PAH molecules, including PAH radicals. As our understanding of the HLG of various PAH molecules expands, including PAH molecules with differing aromatic structures, PAH ions, odd-nc PAH radicals, as well as the effect of stacking and clustering behavior of PAH molecules on the HLG, we can better interpret the optical band gap measurements previously undertaken in the Miller lab. These results can be integrated with our Raman studies and previous mass spectrometric work to form a picture of the beginning stages of PAH molecule stacking and clustering to form soot. 



Jennifer Giaccai is a conservation scientist in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the National Museum of Asian Art at the Smithsonian Institution. She previously worked at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She joined the Freer and Sackler in 2015. She studied chemistry at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and Materials Science and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. Aside from soot, her current research interests include tracing the introduction of modern pigments in Chinese paintings and pichhwai and analyzing the dyes in the embroidery of Ming dynasty rank badges.


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