Graduate Student Opportunities
Ph.D. Positions in Atmospheric Chemistry
My group is actively developing cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) for detection of atmospheric chemicals and study of atmospheric chemsitry. We have developed a sensor for the nitrate radical (NO3), and have successfully deployed this instrument in a field campaign. We have been awarded an NSF CAREER grant to further develop and use this technology. In this project, Ph.D. students have an excellent opportunity to study atmospheric chemistry and further their education while learning valuable technical skills. In the project, we will:
- Further develop our CRDS-based NO3 sensor.
- Deploy the instrument in the field to study NO3's role as an atmospheric oxidant.
- Study photochemical reactions producing NO3 in the laboratory.
- Develop other CRDS-based sensors for atmospheric chemical studies.
My group is actively investigating how snow and air interact and exchange chemicals. Snow traps impurities from the atmosphere, and thus regions where snow accumulates without melting (ice caps and glaciers) are archives of the past atmospheric composition. Unfortunately the snow is not simply a passive trap but a photochemically active medium that alters some of the chemicals after their deposition. To properly interpret reactive molecules in ice cores, we need to understand these chemical transformations.
Additionally, and possibly more importantly, these chemical reactions on snow affect the atmosphere overlying the snow. For example, heterogenous reactions of halides on the ice surfaces produce reactive halogen gases that deplete ozone in the polar boundary layer. These same reactions also oxidize normally benign gas-phase mercury to reactive-gaseous mercury that deposits to snow, increasing its bioavailability and toxicity. We have been funded by the National Science Foundation to study these reactions under a number of grants. In these grants, we investigate:
- Snow optical properties to constrain photochemical models of snow chemistry.
- Bromine monoxide (an important reactive halogen species) concentrations during the springtime in coastal locations (Barrow, Alaska).
- The relation between sea salts (the source of halogens) and mercury deposition.
In addition to these core projects, I have a number of other projects available to students. I have a great deal of experience building instruments, making them work, and making discoveries with them. I am a good teacher of these skills and a good advisor to both graduate and undergraduate students.
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is uniquely situated (Latitude 65 N) to study the Arctic and its chemistry. We are already a leader in Polar and Climate change research. We have modern, new, facilities, both at the Chemistry Department and at my laboratory in the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) building. The Chemistry Department has an excellent faculty, which makes it a great place to teach and learn chemistry. In addition to the chemistry department, I am also affiliated with the Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center (IARC).
Students receive degrees (MS or PhD) through the Environmental Chemistry program and can apply online. Students working in my group are employed year round and salaries are competitive with other research universities. Students with M.S. degrees or other advanced preparation in lasers, spectroscopy, or atmospheric chemistry are highly encouraged to apply. If you are interested in these positions, please contact me either by phone or by email.