Getting to Know Your Professors: Lauren Benz
Inside USD -- Chemistry Professor Lauren Benz’ research focuses on incredibly small molecules but it could lead to some big results in collecting greenhouse gases and fighting global warming. Benz, who joined USD’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2009 as the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was recently featured in a brochure for the prestigious Clare Boothe Luce program, the single most significant source of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering. Professor Benz talks about her work and her interests in promoting undergraduate research and women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
Q: Much of your work focuses on nanoporous hybrid networks. Can you explain what that involves and how your research is going?
Nanoporous materials are solid materials that have very tiny pores within their structure, sort of like a sponge but with holes on the nanoscale. Because of the high surface area that results, these materials have high potential for gas storage, including for carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. We can measure the absorption of CO2 by thin films made of these materials and study the fundamental interaction between various energy-relevant gases and the films we prepare.
Our research is going very well – two of my students – Andrew Cerro ’14 and Amber Mosier ’15 – presented a poster on their work at the national American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas, Texas this spring and their work will be submitted to the Journal of Physical Chemistry for publication. It would also be fantastic to design a nanoporous material that could not only store CO2 but could also convert it into something more useful. This is something we are very excited about that we plan to investigate in the near future. (Full Article)
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