Filter and Sort


Geochemistry of the Albian Kiamichi Formation of East Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jessica Walker Geology
Advisor(s): Richard Denne Geology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 10

poster location

This study involved the examination of core samples from the Lower Cretaceous aged Kiamichi Formation of the East Texas Basin in order to interpret its organic and elemental geochemistry using various techniques. The Kiamichi Formation may have the potential to be a source rock for hydrocarbons, and may be a plausible target for oil and gas companies to produce using unconventional techniques. Since this formation has yet to be thoroughly analyzed, this project has lead to further understanding of its potential by using techniques such as handheld x-ray fluorescence tool to estimate for the abundance of rare earth elements and trace metals, as well as a CHNS analyzer to determine the amount of organic carbon of the formation. Upon completion of the sample analysis, this geochemical information about the Kiamichi Formation provides beneficial information for further research on the overall Kiamichi Seaway.

View Poster



Type: Graduate
Author(s): John Williams Geology
Advisor(s): Helge Alsleben Geology
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 7

poster location

The Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas is one of the most prolific unconventional hydrocarbon plays in the world (Breyer, 2016). In 2015, natural gas and oil from this field hit peak production numbers at 5,539 MMcf (million cubic feet) and 1,118,648 Bbl (barrels) per day, respectively (Texas RRC, 2016).  In order for this low-permeability formation to produce, companies are using hydraulic fracturing, a stimulation treatment used in low-permeability rock whereby fluids are pumped at high pressures into reservoirs, causing new fractures to form and possibly reactivating existing fractures (Schlumberger, 2016).  The aim of this study is to identify any geomechanical and geochemical properties that optimize fracture connectivity within the Boquillas Formation, the West Texas Eagle Ford equivalent.  Energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) and strength/hardness data from this study suggests that fracture frequency and length are affected by the clay and calcium carbonate content, and, by inference, the strength of the rock.

View Poster


Influence of Isolation Stress on Aβ Production and Cognitive Function in 5xFAD mice

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nick Baroni Interdisciplinary Micah Eimerbrink Psychology Kelsey Paulhus Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Morgan Thompson Biology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 2

poster location

Influence of Isolation Stress on Aβ Production and Cognitive Function in 5xFAD mice Baroni, N. J.,1 Peterman, J. L.1, White, J. D.1, Eimerbrink, M. J.1, Paulhus, K. C.2, Thompson, M. A.2, Chumley, M. J.2 & Boehm G. W.1,
1Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University
2Department of Biology, Texas Christian University
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly 44 million people worldwide, and is increasing exponentially in prevalence. Thus, research into its causes and prevention is crucial. Transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease are often used to better study AD pathology. These mice have genetic mutations that result in heightened production of amyloid beta (Aβ), a pathological hallmark of AD. It has been well established that stress can influence AD pathology. This study investigates how isolation stress influences the production of amyloid beta in 5xFAD transgenic mice. In addition, we investigated whether isolation stress impacts cognition in the contextual fear conditioning (CFC) paradigm. The mice were group-housed or isolated for both 2 and 3 months, followed by cognitive testing and tissue collection. Specifically, we utilized histochemistry to examine Aβ plaque counts and an ELISA to examine soluble Aβ production. We found that isolated 5xFAD+ mice had significantly more amyloid beta plaques than group-housed animals. 5xFAD+ mice isolated for 3 months also displayed a cognitive deficit in contextual fear conditioning. All together, our results support the research that isolation stress influences Aβ production and cognitive function, and extends that to the 5xFAD transgenic mice.

View Poster


Prior exposure to repeated LPS injections prevents further accumulation of hippocampal-beta-amyloid

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alexa Calcagno Psychology Philip Crain Psychology Micah Eimerbrink Psychology Amy Hardy Biology Kelsey Paulhus Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Morgan Thompson Biology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology Michael Chumley Biology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 5

poster location

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease currently affecting about 5.5 million Americans, and the number of people affected may rise as high as 16 million by 2050. Characteristic AD pathology of deteriorating cognitive function is correlated with neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein and Amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques. Aβ is a peptide resulting from cleavage of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) primarily present within neuronal cell membranes. The Aβ peptide can be cleaved at different lengths, but Aβ1-42 is the most neurotoxic. Aβ1-42 primarily aggregates in the hippocampus, where it further stimulates the release of cytokine proteins initiating an inflammatory response. Previous studies in our lab have shown that short-term inflammation induced by injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) leads to an inflammatory response that stimulates production of Aβ1-42 peptides. The goal of this project was to determine whether this effect could be exacerbated through a second injection series of LPS after a fourteen-day recovery interval, thus modeling multiple, independent, bacterial infections, like that seen in humans. The animals were given 7 days of 250 mg/kg LPS or saline injections, a two-week break, and another 7 days of LPS or saline. Contrary to what was predicted, Aβ levels were not potentiated. This effect was found to be related to decreased inflammatory response upon secondary administration of LPS, as IL-1β mRNA was significantly lower in the group that got two rounds of LPS. Current studies of our lab are evaluating whether these results are related to the presence of antibodies to LPS or a specific tolerance mechanism.

View Poster


An IoT-based Real Time Low Cost Monitoring and Notification System for Aged Care

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Quang Nguyen Computer Science
Advisor(s): Sue Gong Physics & Astronomy Liran Ma Computer Science
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 7

poster location

The challenge of taking care of aged patients who lost control of their bladders and bowel movements is to respond to the patients’ needs in a timely manner, which often requires a caretaker (e.g. a family member or a hired assistant) to stay on watch 24/7. In light of advance in cloud computing, we present a real-time low-cost monitoring and notification system that can continuously monitor the patients bedding condition, detect the conditions that help is needed and notify the care-takers. The system consists of TI SensorTags, Raspberry Pis, and IBM Bluemix. The TI SensorTag is a sensing device, while Raspberry Pi acts as a messenger receiving data collected by TI SensorTags via Bluetooth technology and transmitting the data to Bluemix, a cloud-based platform developed by IBM, via WiFi.

The system frequently senses bedding conditions of patients. Data is uploaded to a server residing on IBM Cloud, which processes data and sends appropriate notifications. The availability of cloud technology and small signal processing units, as well as advance in sensor technologies, allow us to build a low-cost system that can help caregivers address the patients’ needs effectively. As a result, the quality of care for patients is improved.

View Poster


Algebraic Geometry and an introduction to linkage theory

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Luis Aguirre Mathematics
Advisor(s): Scott Nollet Mathematics
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 4

poster location

Classical Algebraic Geometry is a branch of mathematics that studies different sets of solutions to polynomial equations in several variables with coefficients over different kinds of number systems. Let's call this type of set an algebraic set. For example, if the number of variables is 2 and the number system is the real numbers, then we are talking about points, and curves in the real coordinate plane. Linkage theory studies classes of algebraic sets that can be “linked” by using another algebraic set which is “simpler” and better understood.


Winding Numbers and Toeplitz Operators

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Nathanael Hellerman Mathematics
Advisor(s): Efton Park Mathematics
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 2

poster location

The winding number of a continuous function on the unit circle counts how many times a graph of the function loops around the origin. It is homotopy invariant and has applications to several areas of Mathematics.
Toeplitz operators with continuous symbol are bounded linear operators on the Hardy Space involving multiplication by a continuous function. The index of such a Toeplitz operator is closely connected to the winding number of its symbol.
This connection is examined and then extended for Toeplitz operators with crossed product symbols.

View Poster


Differences in Personality Structure by Age: Analyzing Clusters with Persistent Homology

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jake Howell Mathematics
Advisor(s): Eric Hanson Mathematics
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 6

poster location

Personality psychologists often apply clustering techniques on questionnaire data to model personality structure. Inspired by this work, we apply techniques from topological data analysis (TDA) to understand the structure of this data. The data comes from Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (collected by Bell, Rose, & Damon in 1972). Subjects were 969 adult male volunteers divided into three age groups: 25 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55 to 82. We use persistent homology (a TDA tool) to cluster the data and identify that personality structure is slightly different between the age groups. It is also curious to note that data from the youngest age group appears to have a topological “hole”, which raises questions of the psychological significance. This work suggests that additional research, including applying TDA tools to other questionnaire data sets can provide insights to the study of personality.

View Poster


Algebraic Sets, Varieties and Their Multiplicity Structures

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Fazle Rabby Mathematics
Advisor(s): Scott Nollet Mathematics
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 6

poster location

An algebraic set is the solution set of a system of polynomial equations. A variety is a special type of algebraic set. In the two dimensional Euclidean plane the solution set of the polynomial equation x=0 is nothing but the Y-axis, which is an example of a variety. Historically people studied varieties and their relations very carefully. It turns out that instead of studying varieties individually it is more fruitful to study them in a 'family'. But in this set up degeneracies happen naturally. For example, in the two dimensional Euclidean plane if we take the unit circle centered at the origin and intersect it by the vertical lines x=a, where a is any number from the interval [-1, 1], we always get two distinct points unless a is -1 or 1, i.e., degeneracy happens at -1 and 1. In those two degenerate cases the solution sets consist of just one point, but in the algebraic point of view they come twice. So we can say these algebraic sets have multiplicity 2. It was very difficult to study these multiplicity structures using the classical tools of algebraic geometry. But after Alexander Grothendieck introduced and developed his theory of 'Schemes' in the 1950s , we can study such structures closely and talk about their geometries.


Indices of Algebraic Integers in Cubic Fields

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Jeremy Smith Mathematics
Advisor(s): George Gilbert Mathematics
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 1

poster location

An algebraic integer is a complex number that is a root of a monic polynomial with integer coefficients. It is well-known that there is not always a single algebraic integer that can generate the ring of algebraic integers contained in a field extension of the rational numbers. The index of an algebraic integer is a natural number that measures how far a ring of integers is from having such a "primitive element." We investigate these indices in cubic fields and determine which natural numbers occur as indices in given families.

View Poster


Impact of an Educational Campaign on College Students' Food Waste Intentions and Behaviors

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Annie Kate Genasci Nutritional Sciences Chandler Dalton Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Jarman Hill Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 1

poster location

Background: Approximately 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted. Consumers are responsible for the largest portion of food waste. The average college student generates ~142 pounds of food waste/year. The purposes of this research were to measure the impact of an educational food waste campaign on 1) actual food waste behaviors on a college campus and 2) students’ knowledge, beliefs, perception of referent others and social acceptability, attitude, subjective norm and intensions related to food waste.
Methods: An electronic food waste survey was developed. The Institutional Review Board approved this study. Food waste volume was measured by food service employees at breakfast for five days both before and after a food waste educational campaign. A convenience sample of participants provided consent prior to survey completion before and after the educational campaign. Data were coded into and analyzed using SPSS 24.
Results: Breakfast food waste totaled 610 quarts for the 7226 people served in ten days. Food waste per person was not significantly different pre/post-campaign. Approximately 0.076 and 0.10 quarts of breakfast food waste per person were measured pre/post-campaign respectively. Participants completed pre- (N=86) and post-campaign surveys (N=78). Total knowledge scores did not significantly change following the educational campaign. Knowledge regarding dating labels improved significantly (p<0.001). About 56% (N=47) and ~49% (N=38) participants reported often throwing away food from their refrigerators or pantries because use-by or sell-by dates had passed on pre/post-campaign surveys, respectively.
Discussion: Participants reported positive intentions to avoid food waste on both pre/post-campaign surveys. Knowledge regarding food waste remained low following the educational campaign. Additionally, almost two-thirds of participants did not agree that most people think food waste is a problem.


Relationship Between Water Consumption & Overall Skin Health in Individuals 18-24 Years of Age

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Katie Keatley Nutritional Sciences Vivian Castillo Nutritional Sciences Ashley Peek Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 3

poster location

Background: Water is an essential component of the skin cells. Research suggests that lack of proper hydration causes skin to become dry, tight, and less resilient. A recent study showed that an increase in water intake has a positive correlation with skin appearance, especially in those who had inadequate water intake to begin with. However, opposing research studies have found that there are too many external factors to glorify water intake as the main contributor to skin appearance.

Purpose/Objective: To determine the effects of water consumption on skin complexion.

Methods: An online survey, regarding skin type, skin care processes, medications, physical activity, and fluid and dietary intake, was developed to evaluate the relationship between water intake and skin health. Researchers recruited Texas Christian University student participants using email and social media. Once the survey sample of 105 participants was met, data was analyzed using SPSS.

Results: Upon surveying participants (N=105), there were strong correlations (p<0.01), between skin type and fruit servings, skin type and yogurt consumption, and skin type and alcohol intake. There was also a strong correlation (p<0.01) among those who consumed water and additional healthy habits, such as higher fruit, vegetable, and yogurt consumption, and higher amounts of moderate or vigorous exercise. Approximately 24% (n=25) of the respondents mentioned that their skin appearance changes due to many factors including weather, medications, stress, dehydration, makeup, or menstrual cycle. There were no significant relationships between water intake and skin satisfaction or water intake and acne.

Conclusions: While water provides many benefits, other factors likely contribute to optimum skin health. Those who reported drinking more water had healthier habits overall, including exercising and consuming fruits, vegetables, and yogurt, which implies that further assessment is needed to determine which of these factors impact skin appearance and satisfaction.


The Correlation Between the Addition of a Condiment and Plate Waste in an Elementary School Meal Program Serving Students Ages 5-12

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Samantha Lane Nutritional Sciences Sarah Timmer Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 7

poster location

Background: There have been many food waste studies done in elementary schools around the country. Several studies have determined that main entrées contribute significantly to plate waste in elementary school food programs, but studies relating the use of condiments and their influence on food waste need further exploration.
Objectives: Determine the correlation between the addition of condiments and the amount of plate waste from a chicken entrée.
Methods: In Phase I, data was collected in an elementary afterschool meal program. Researchers evaluated plate waste for the chicken entrée once a week for a total of four weeks. Chicken entrée plate waste was evaluated by weight and visual assessment. The waste weight was compared to the weight of one serving of the chicken entrée. A photograph of the total plate waste was taken each week for visual comparison. Researchers compared the total number of servings prepared to the number of servings leftover. In Phase II of the study a condiment (ketchup) was added to the menu when the chicken entrée was served. A marketing campaign was implemented with flyers to advertise the addition of the condiment. For the remaining four weeks, plate waste was documented using the same methods utilized during Phase I.
Results: In Phase I, an average of 26.7% of chicken entrées was wasted. In Phase II, an average of 20.8% of chicken entrées was wasted. No statistically significant difference was found in the percentage of food leftover between Phase I and Phase II (p<0.06). After adjusting for differences in initial portion size, there was still no statistically significant difference in weight of entrée left over (p<0.3).
Conclusion: Though there was no significant difference, the amount of waste is large enough to draw attention to the problem of waste in school foodservice. More research is necessary to determine what factors are leading to food waste.

View Poster


Determination of the Impact of a Culinary Medicine Nutrition Education Program on Dietary Behaviors, Meal Preparation, and Nutritional Knowledge of Cancer Survivors

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Maddie Settle Nutritional Sciences Maeson Wampler Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 8

poster location

A healthy diet and physical activity can help manage weight and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Research reveals that cancer survivors want information regarding cancer therapy side effect management and how to consume a balanced diet. According to previous research, nutrition education should improve nutrition knowledge, quality of life, confidence, and motivation to make positive lifestyle changes. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of a six-week culinary medicine nutrition education program on nutritional knowledge, motivation to make lifestyle changes, and self-efficacy of cancer survivors.

Participants provided informed consent prior to completing initial and final surveys evaluating nutritional history, dietary and physical activity behaviors, and nutrition knowledge. Data were coded and analyzed using SPSS 24.

Participants (N = 21) were 56.8+/-9.9 years of age. Although no significant difference was detected between initial and final nutrition knowledge scores, participants’ confidence scores preparing meals improved significantly from 0.89 to 1.56 (p≤0.05). Participants reported a significant increase in daily vegetable intake from 1.73 to 2.63 servings/day (p≤0.05).

The lack of improvement in average knowledge scores could be attributed to inconsistent participant attendance throughout the six-week course and survey knowledge questions that did not focus on topics discussed in-depth during the course. The demonstration and hands-on cooking portion of the course positively impacted participants’ confidence and motivation to make healthy changes. Meal preparation confidence increased significantly with all participants stating they agreed/strongly agreed in feeling confident preparing meals in the final survey. Almost 100% of participants reported that they intend to make dietary changes and 100% would implement what they learned in the class into their lives. Study limitations include a small sample size and frequently skipped survey questions. Further research is needed to determine best practices to improve nutrition knowledge for cancer survivors in this setting.



Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Melissa Simons Nutritional Sciences Jaclynn Clay Nutritional Sciences Grace Niestrom Nutritional Sciences Erin Owen Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne Vanbeber Nutritional Sciences Lyn Dart Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 13

poster location

Learning Outcome: To examine differences in pizza portion sizes based on variations and lack of standardization of total weight, diameter, and individual slices.

Background: Supersized food portions were introduced in the U.S. during the 1970s. Since then the obesity epidemic has spiked, suggesting larger portion sizes and prevalence of obesity may be related. Because of this trend in larger portion sizes, experts agree that many people tend to overestimate the appropriate amount of food they should consume. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare pizza portion sizes from different local establishments.

Study Design: Nine large cheese pizzas and five personal size cheese pizzas were purchased from various restaurants in Fort Worth, Texas. Pizzerias were selected based on customer reviews designated by ratings, including five pizzerias with high ratings, four pizzerias with average ratings, and five pizzerias with low ratings. Pizza measurements were recorded for total weight, diameter, weight of the largest and smallest slices, and total cost of each pizza. Data was analyzed to meet study objectives (SPSS, P<0.05).

Results: A wide variance in recorded measures and lack of standardization was noted among the nine large size pizzas, including total weight (458-1585 gm), diameter (12.8-17.5 in), weight of largest slice (54-266 gm), weight of smallest slice (20-116 gm), and total cost of the pizza ($10.81-$19.47). Except for a smaller variance in total weight (204-380 gm), the five personal-size pizzas showed similar wide differences in diameter (6.25-12.25 in) and total cost ($4.33-$11.91). Total weight, diameter, and cost were also correlated positively in both the personal-size and large pizzas. In contrast to large size pizzas, personal-size pizzas showed a positive correlation between pizza diameter and low-to-high customer review ratings.

Conclusions: Results suggest a lack of standardized portion sizes among different large size and personal size pizzas. Posting calories and other nutrient information about pizza portion sizes can fill a critical information gap and help consumers make informed and healthful dietary choices.


Examination of Trends in Coconut Oil Consumption and How this Impacts Product Merchandising in Area Grocery Stores

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gabriela Zeagler Nutritional Sciences Tara Martinez Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 12

poster location

Background: Recent research indicates that coconut oil consumption has increased in popularity due to a variety of perceived health benefits. Although the actual health benefits of coconut oil continue to be a topic of controversy, sales of the oil have increased radically. Product shelf placement has been shown to impact grocery item sales, with many sellers placing popular or desired products at eye level to attract buyers.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if the increased popularity of coconut oil impacts price and grocery store shelving placement relative to other popular oils.

Design and Methods: Researchers selected 6 different local grocery stores that varied in type of market, target population, and geographic location. Data was collected for 4 popular oils: coconut, olive, canola, and vegetable. At each store, researchers documented the total number of brands for each of the four oils, their individual price per fluid ounce, and whether the oil was placed above eye level, at eye level, or below eye level. Photos were taken of each of the shelving units. Data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel.

Results: There was no statistical correlation between type of oil with shelving location nor with price per ounce and shelving location. There was a statistically significant difference (p<0.05) between the average price of coconut oil compared to canola and vegetable oils. Four out of the six stores included in the study had a moderate to high positive correlation between price per ounce and the percentage of each type of oil carried in the store.

Conclusions: Researchers noted trends related to higher price per ounce, eye level shelf placement, and increased amount of advertisements for coconut oil. There was a statistically significant difference between the average price per ounce of coconut oil compared to canola and vegetable oils, which supports the observations made. However, it is believed that there was no statistical correlation between the price per ounce, or type of oil, with shelving location since some of the stores had large oil selections that required placement of oils across multiple shelves. Additionally, stores appeared to have placed oils on different shelves depending on their target market of shoppers. Stores with a lower income target population placed coconut oil on the top shelves and carried less of the product, overall. Stores with a higher income target population placed coconut oil at eye level, had increased amount of the oil in stock, and had advertisements for the oil located on the shelving unit. Future research on the subject should limit location selections to one target market to eliminate this variable.


Optical Observations of the Leading Arm of the Magellanic Stream

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jacqueline Antwi-Danso Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 1

poster location

The nearby Magellanic Cloud galaxies are tidally interacting with each other, displacing over 2 billion times the mass of the Sun in gas. A tidal feature called the Leading Arm is spearheading these galaxies on their trajectory to the Milky Way. Its fragmented morphology suggests that it is already interacting with our galaxy and supplying it with star-forming material in the form of gas. We present new optical observations of the Leading Arm with which we derive a heliocentric distance to the structure.


Supernovae in Large Magellanic Cloud Drive Massive Winds Toward Milky Way Galaxy

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Drew Ciampa Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 3

poster location

Located inside the Large Magellanic Cloud, fierce explosions called supernovae have thrown out massive amounts of gas in every direction. A portion of this gas is aimed toward the Milky Way and is on a crash course with our galaxy. We are observing this gas with the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper, which provides a window into how the gas is distributed. These observations show two periods of supernovae explosions that created two distinct gas winds. One of these winds is currently active while the other was produced roughly 300 Million years old. Studying these gas clouds will provide information on how massive these winds are and the rate at which they are produced. The ejected gas is headed toward the Milky Way could supply our galaxy with additional gas to form stars in the future.

View Poster


Solving the Galaxy with BIG DATA

Type: Graduate
Author(s): John Donor Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 8

poster location

Studying something as large as the Milky Way can be a daunting task, and studying the galaxy in its entirety is impossible, so astronomers use small pieces, such as star clusters, to “trace" the behavior and make-up of the galaxy. With the advent of large-scale surveys covering 70%-100% of the sky, more of these tracer components are available than ever before. But they aren’t trivial to pick out of the massive datasets. We have developed a program that integrates data from multiple large scale surveys to identify star clusters and determine fundamental parameters that trace the galaxy in that location (3D velocity and location, chemical make-up, age). We also present initial work using these clusters to study the distribution of chemicals in the Milky Way.


Tuning the Optical Band Gap of Graphene Oxide by Ozone Treatment

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Md Tanvir Hasan Physics & Astronomy Roberto Gonzalez-Rodriguez Chemistry & Biochemistry Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy Conor Ryan Physics & Astronomy Brian Senger Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 1

poster location

Graphene oxide (GO) inherits high transparency, substantial conductivity, high tensile strength from its parent materials graphene. Apart from these properties, it emits fluorescence which makes it a potential material to use in optoelectronics and bio-sensing applications. In this work, we have utilized systematic ozone treatment to alter the optical band gap of single-layered graphene oxide in aqueous suspensions. Due to controlled ozonation, additional functionalization takes place in GO graphitic sheet which changes GO electronic structure. This is confirmed by the increase in vibrational transitions of a number of oxygen-containing functional groups with treatment and the appearance of the prominent carboxylic group feature at c.a. 1700 1/cm. Albeit, timed ozone induction introduces only slight change in color and absorption spectra of GO samples, the emission spectra show a gradual increase in intensity with a significant blue shift up to 100 nm from deep red to green. This large blue shift suggests an increase in optical band gap with additional functionalization introduced by ozone treatment. We utilize a semi-empirical theoretical approach to describe the effects of functionalization-induced changes. This model attributes the origins of fluorescence emission to the quantum confined sp² carbon islands in GO encircled by the functional groups. As we decrease the graphitic carbon cluster size on the GO sheet, the optical bandgap calculated via HyperChem molecular modeling increases, which supports the experimentally observed blue shifts in emission. This theoretical result is further supported by the TEM measurement of ozone-treated samples, which shows a decreasing trend of average ordered graphitic carbon cluster size on GO sheets with treatment time. Theoretical modeling, as well as the experimental results, indicate that the optical bandgap and emission intensity of GO are alterable with controlled ozone treatment, which allows tailoring the optical properties of GO for specific applications in optoelectronics and bio-sensing.

(Poster is private)


The rise of ionized gas in the Magellanic Stream

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Michael Hernandez Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 4

poster location

Two small galaxies outside the Milky Way, called the Magellanic Clouds, are violently interacting with each other. As they interact, gas is stripped out of them, which leaves a huge gaseous tail as they orbit the Milky Way. This tidal debris covers a quarter the sky from earths perspective. The goal of this to project determine the properties of the gas that is trailing behind the Magellanic Clouds by creating maps of the neutral and ionized gas. We trace the neutral hydrogen with radio observations taken with the Arecibo Observatory and the ionized hydrogen using optical observations taken with the Wisconsin H-alpha Mapper telescope. This gaseous stream will one day fall onto the Milky Way and provide our galaxy with material to create new stars.


Gas motions within the Complex A gas cloud reveal that it is dissolving into as it approaches the Milky Way

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Cannan Huey-You Physics & Astronomy Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 13

poster location

A massive gas cloud, known as Complex A, is headed towards our Galaxy. This high-velocity cloud is made up of 2 million times the mass of the Sun of neutral and ionized hydrogen. This cloud is traveling towards the Milky Way's disk, through the Galactic halo. This halo is made up of low density gas at a million degrees Kelvin that acts as a headwind that damages the cloud. Light escaping the Milky Way’s disk also hits the cloud and ionizes it. Using 21-cm radio observations from the Green Bank Telescope, we studied the motions of the gas. We found that diffuse gas is lagging behind the denser parts of the cloud. These motions suggest that gas is being stripped off the cloud and that it is dissolving into the Galactic halo. This disruptive process means that less gas will safely reach the disk of Milky Way and therefore the cloud will provide less gas for making future stars.


In Search of Elusive Complex Eigenvalues to the Schrödinger Equation using Numerical Techniques

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Carson Huey-You Physics & Astronomy Magnus Rittby Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Magnus Rittby Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 7

poster location

Resonances occurring in quantum mechanical cross-sections can be attributed to the existence of complex eigenvalues of the associated Schrödinger equation. For sufficiently narrow resonances the real part of such eigenvalues corresponds to the energy of the resonance and the imaginary part is directly related to its width.

Recently, mathematicians settled a more than 30-year-old controversy regarding the distribution of such resonance eigenvalues for a specific model scattering potential. The controversy arose due to the fact that two different numerical approaches applied to solving the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation gave rise to two different results. In addition to providing a mathematical proof as to which of the two methods was correct, the recent study predicted the approximate location of additional resonance eigenvalues in the complex energy plane.

The present study seeks to revisit this problem in an attempt to provide more accurate eigenvalues for these additional resonances. The complex rotation method was applied to the Riccati equation corresponding to the one-dimensional Schrödinger equation and a Python code was written to numerically integrate the logarithmic derivative of the wave function and search for energy eigenvalues in the complex plane.

We use 3D plots and short videos to illustrate our technique, the original controversy, as well as the reason for the difficulty in locating the new resonances. Much improved numerical values for these resonances are also presented.


Characterization of BODIPY Rotor and Non-Rotor Trimers

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Hana Jaafari Physics & Astronomy Hung Doan Physics & Astronomy Sangram Raut Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Zygmunt Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 3

poster location

Medical therapeutics is an ever-growing field seeking to improve patients’ livelihoods through means including efficient drug delivery, which ensures that the medication reaches its maximum efficacy. The micro-viscosities within a cell may affect the diffusion of medication, and can be measured through molecular viscometers in order to potentially increase the quality of future therapeutic research. The BODIPY dye is utilized as a molecular viscometer and past spectroscopic and lifetime studies have characterized BODIPY monomers, as well as rotor and non-rotor BODIPY dimers. Triazine-based rotor and non-rotor BODIPY trimers were synthesized for this study, and then the dyes’ photophysical properties and behavior within cells were measured. The results of this study indicated that the BODIPY trimer is a fluorophore with a high molar extinction coefficient, and may successfully be employed as a molecular viscometer within cells.


The Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) Survey: Optical Extension for Neutron Capture Elements

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Matthew Melendez Physics & Astronomy John Donor Physics & Astronomy Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy Julia O'Connell Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 6

poster location

The Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) survey is a systematic survey of Galactic open clusters using data primarily from the SDSS-III/APOGEE-1 survey. However, neutron capture elements are limited in the IR region covered by APOGEE. In an effort to fully study detailed Galactic chemical evolution, we are conducting a high resolution (R~60,000) spectroscopic abundance analysis of neutron capture elements for OCCAM clusters in the optical regime to complement the APOGEE results. As part of this effort, we present Ba II, La II, Ce II and Eu II results for a few open clusters without previous abundance measurements using data obtained at McDonald Observatory with the 2.1 m Otto Struve telescope and Sandiford Echelle Spectrograph.

View Poster