Physical chemistry is the application of physics to chemical systems.
Swarna Basu, Ph.D., conducts research is in the area of molecular interactions, using lasers and other instrumentation to answer questions such as: Is it possible to detect a unique DNA sequence that's found in the chromosome using metal ions? Or, what happens when a metal complex similar to a metalloenzyme comes within a very short distance (1-10 nanometers) of a protein? Or, is it possible to create micron-scale protein structures that can serve as models for tissue engineering?
The ability to accurately observe and quantify these interactions yields valuable information about the nature of the protein or DNA or compounds that are similar in structure and properties.
Basu’s research projects include a significant amount of instrument development. The university’s laser system was assembled by SU students and is routinely updated and modified, depending on experimental needs. A microscopy system capable of imaging nanomolar concentration samples and carrying out microscale photopolymerization is part of the Laser Lab.
Students gain valuable, hands-on experience in instrument development, project design and implementation, and data analysis and interpretations. Several students have presented their work at national and regional conferences and students have co-authored a peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Photochemistry/Photobiology and Dalton Transactions.