Seminar Schedule

Seminars are usually held on Friday afternoon in room SL SL 130 at 3:15 pm, unless otherwise noted.  Graduate student seminars are on Fridays in SL 130 or SL 110 at 3:15 pm, unless otherwise noted.  Seminar speakers are available from 2:30 pm until 3:00 pm in CB275 for discussion.  Refreshments are provided 15 minutes prior to the seminar in CB275.

The department strives to offer a diverse and vibrant seminar program. Each year leading researchers from outside the department, as well as faculty and graduate students from Western, present and discuss their cutting-edge research. This is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to actively participate in the scientific community. In addition, many outside seminar speakers are recruiting graduate students for their respective programs and are eager to discuss their program. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!  

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Fall Quarter 2018

September 28th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Graduate School"
WWU Chemistry Faculty Panel
October 5th  @ 4:00 in SL 150
"Almost Alchemy: Radical Ligands for Precious Metal-Like C–C Coupling Catalysis at Cobalt"
Prof. Jake Soper
Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology 
October 12th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Chemical bonding in transition metal free radicals: Tantalizing and golden results from high resolution electronic spectroscopy"
Prof. Tom Varberg
Dept. of Chemistry 
Macalester College
Transition metals play important roles in areas as diverse as chemical catalysis, metallurgy, stained glass, nanoelectronics, and recent efforts to determine the electric dipole moment of the electron. My interest in transition metals and the spectroscopy of their compounds springs from the presence of unpaired electrons, which produce not only the distinctive chemistry of the transition metals but also give rise to interesting and challenging spectra to be unraveled and deciphered. I will describe our group’s recent work involving the metals tantalum and gold. With visible and near-infrared lasers, we have recorded spectra of several different diatomic fluorides, oxides, sulfides and hydrides containing one of these two metals. Our analyses of their complex spectra have revealed interesting insights into the chemical bonding of these molecules.
October 17th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Linking excited-state electronic structure to photoactivity in organic materials"
Prof. Tim Kowalczyk
Dept. of Chemistry
Western Washington University
October 19th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Proton and Electron Flux Management for the Removal of Pervasive  Environmental Pollutants"
Prof. John Gilbertson
Dept. of Chemistry 
Western Washington University
October 26th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Computational Design of Perovskite Solar Cell Materials"
Prof. Rob Berger
Dept. of Chemistry
Western Washington University
October 29th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensors Based on High-Index Dielectric MIM Structures"
Thesis Defense
Sarah Clark
Graduate Student
Dept. of Chemistry
Western Washington University
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is the phenomenon in which an incident electromagnetic wave couples to charge density oscillations on a metal surface. The resulting excitation, known as a surface plasmon polariton (SPP), will propagate along the metal-dielectric interface. SPR biosensors monitor protein binding interactions in real time, which lead to changes in the refractive index, thereby altering the SPP excitation conditions. Recently, we have designed a structure that supports guided-wave plasmon polariton modes (GW-PPMs), a novel type of plasmonic excitation that demonstrates increased propagation lengths compared to those of traditional SPPs in certain regions of phase space. Because it has been shown that higher propagation lengths lead to increased sensitivity for SPR biosensors, employing GW-PPM-supporting structures could potentially lead to improved performance. Plasmonic modes are excited and detected using attenuated total reflectance (ATR), in which a prism is used to couple light into the waveguide structure. Biosensing applications require the use of the Kretschmann ATR configuration, in which the waveguide and prism are in direct contact, allowing for protein binding interactions to be monitored at the exposed surface of the waveguide. While the Kretschmann configuration is frequently employed experimentally, comprehensive theoretical models for leaky modes have yet to be realized. As we specifically address the complications associated with modeling the plasmonic excitations within the region of phase space accessible by Kretschmann ATR, we hope to better understand the nature of these modes and how they differ fundamentally from traditional SPPs. In addition, we hope to characterize the relationship of both propagation lengths and biosensor sensitivity with kx values. Further, we discuss the relationship between biosensor sensitivity and propagation length. The work presented in this thesis sets the stage for better understanding the nature of plasmonic modes excited using the Kretschmann configuration and for developing SPR waveguides with tunable propagation lengths as a way to increase biosensor sensitivity.
November 2nd  @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Development and applications of photoreversible backbone caging of natural peptides and proteins"
Alicia E. Mangubat-Medina
Graduate Research Assistant and Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Chemistry
Rice University
November 9th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
November 14th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
November 28th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
November 30th  @ 3:15 in SL 130
December 4th @ 3:15 in SL 110
December 5th @ 3:15 in SL 130
December 7th @ 3:15 in SL 130
December 11th @ 3:45 in SL 120

Click here to access the Seminar Archive.

Click here to access WWU Chemistry Research Publication Collections (including graduate thesis collection).