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Creating and Characterizing a PsaC-HydA1 Fusion in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a possible solution to these energy needs, particularly if given a

There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a possible solution to these energy needs, particularly if given a way to produce hydrogen gas efficiently. Biological hydrogen (biohydrogen) production presents a potential way to do just this. It is known that hydrogenases are active in wild-type algal photosynthesis pathways but are only active in anoxic environments, where they serve as electron sinks and compete poorly for electrons from photosystem I. To circumvent these issues, a psaC-hydA1 fusion gene was designed and incorporated into a plasmid that was then used to transform hydrogenase-free Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants. Results obtained suggest that the psaC-hydA1 gene completely replaced the wild-type psaC gene in the chloroplast genome and the fusion was expressed in the algal cells. Western blotting verified the presence of the HydA1-PsaC fusion proteins in the transformed cells, P700 photobleaching suggested the normal assembly of FA/FB clusters in PsaC-HydA1, and PSII fluorescence data suggested that HydA1 protein limited photosynthetic electron transport flow in the fusion. Hydrogen production was measured in dark, high light, and under maximal reducing conditions. In all conditions, the wild-type algal strain (with a normal PsaC protein) exhibited higher rates of hydrogen production in the light over 2 hours than the WT strain, though both strains produced similar rates in the dark.

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2017-12

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Development of Frequency Selective Surfaces for RF Interrogator Design

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The honors thesis presented in this document describes an extension to an electrical engineering capstone project whose scope is to develop the receiver electronics for an RF interrogator. The RF interrogator functions by detecting the change in resonant frequency

The honors thesis presented in this document describes an extension to an electrical engineering capstone project whose scope is to develop the receiver electronics for an RF interrogator. The RF interrogator functions by detecting the change in resonant frequency of (i.e, frequency of maximum backscatter from) a target resulting from an environmental input. The general idea of this honors project was to design three frequency selective surfaces that would act as surrogate backscattering or reflecting targets that each contains a distinct frequency response. Using 3-D electromagnetic simulation software, three surrogate targets exhibiting bandpass frequency responses at distinct frequencies were designed and presented in this thesis.

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2021-05

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Methods and applications of nanoelectrochemical techniques

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Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis. The enzymatic turnover of Clostridium acetobutylicum [FeFe]-hydrogenase has been investigated

Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis. The enzymatic turnover of Clostridium acetobutylicum [FeFe]-hydrogenase has been investigated through the use of electrochemical and scanning probe techniques. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) imaging revealed sub-monolayer surface coverage. Cyclic voltammetry yielded a catalytic, cathodic hydrogen production signal similar to that observed for a platinum electrode. From the direct observation of single enzymes and the macroscopic electrochemical measurements obtained from the same electrode, the apparent turnover frequency (TOF) per single enzyme molecule as a function of potential was determined. The TOF at 0.7 V vs. Ag/AgCl for the four SAMs yielded a decay constant for electronic coupling (β) through the SAM of ~ 0.82 Å -1, in excellent agreement with published values for similar SAMs. One mechanism used by plants to protect against damage is called nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). Triggered by low pH in the thylakoid lumen, NPQ leads to conversion of excess excitation energy in the antenna system to heat before it can initiate production of harmful chemical species by photosynthetic reaction centers. Here a synthetic hexad molecule that functionally mimics the role of the antenna in NPQ is described. When the hexad is dissolved in an organic solvent, five zinc porphyrin antenna moieties absorb light, exchange excitation energy, and ultimately decay by normal photophysical processes. However, when acid is added, a pH-sensitive dye moiety is converted to a form that rapidly quenches the first excited singlet states of all five porphyrins, converting the excitation energy to heat and rendering the porphyrins kinetically incompetent to perform useful photochemistry. Charge transport was also studied in single-molecule junctions formed with a 1,7-pyrrolidine-substituted 3,4,9,10-Perylenetetracarboxylic diimide (PTCDI) molecule. A reduction in the highest occupied (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied (LUMO) molecular orbitals energy gap due to the electronic properties of the substituents is seen when compared to an unsubstituted-PTCDI. The small HOMO-LUMO energy gap allows for switching between electron- and hole-dominated charge transport with a gate voltage, thus demonstrating a single-molecule ambipolar field effect transistor.

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2012

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Flexible Fractal-Inspired Metamaterial for Head Imaging at 3 T MRI

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The ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image any part of the human body without the effects of harmful radiation such as in CAT and PET scans established MRI as a clinical mainstay for a variety of different ailments

The ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image any part of the human body without the effects of harmful radiation such as in CAT and PET scans established MRI as a clinical mainstay for a variety of different ailments and maladies. Short wavelengths accompany the high frequencies present in high-field MRI, and are on the same scale as the human body at a static magnetic field strength of 3 T (128 MHz). As a result of these shorter wavelengths, standing wave effects are produced in the MR bore where the patient is located. These standing waves generate bright and dark spots in the resulting MR image, which correspond to irregular regions of high and low clarity. Coil loading is also an inevitable byproduct of subject positioning inside the bore, which decreases the signal that the region of interest (ROI) receives for the same input power. Several remedies have been proposed in the literature to remedy the standing wave effect, including the placement of high permittivity dielectric pads (HPDPs) near the ROI. Despite the success of HPDPs at smoothing out image brightness, these pads are traditionally bulky and take up a large spatial volume inside the already small MR bore. In recent years, artificial periodic structures known as metamaterials have been designed to exhibit specific electromagnetic effects when placed inside the bore. Although typically thinner than HPDPs, many metamaterials in the literature are rigid and cannot conform to the shape of the patient, and some are still too bulky for practical use in clinical settings. The well-known antenna engineering concept of fractalization, or the introduction of self-similar patterns, may be introduced to the metamaterial to display a specific resonance curve as well as increase the metamaterial’s intrinsic capacitance. Proposed in this paper is a flexible fractal-inspired metamaterial for application in 3 T MR head imaging. To demonstrate the advantages of this flexibility, two different metamaterial configurations are compared to determine which produces a higher localized signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and average signal measured in the image: in the first configuration, the metamaterial is kept rigid underneath a human head phantom to represent metamaterials in the literature (single-sided placement); and in the second, the metamaterial is wrapped around the phantom to utilize its flexibility (double-sided placement). The double-sided metamaterial setup was found to produce an increase in normalized SNR of over 5% increase in five of six chosen ROIs when compared to no metamaterial use and showed a 10.14% increase in the total average signal compared to the single-sided configuration.

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2022-05