Interfaces play a major role in a variety of chemical and biological processes, but my research on interfaces is predominantly focused on applications related to liquid-liquid extraction and aqueous aerosols (the first two examples below). The other two examples are related to specific fundamental research I carry out.
Liquid-liquid extraction is a common technique used to clean up wastewater by finding a hydrophobic ligand that preferentially binds to a contaminant, and then brings the contaminant into another solvent, which is usually an organic liquid, such as dichloroethane (DCE below) or an ionic liquid.
The uptake of trace atmospheric gases in aerosols, and the reactions of the gases to form other products influences general atmospheric composition. The interface plays a significant role on these processes, and one of our research goals is to elucidate the importance of the interface.
One facet of our research is to understand the hydroxide anion in solution, which requires a model that explicitly includes proton sharing between waters and the hydroxide anion in its implementation.
One very common solvent in liquid-liquid extraction is dichloroethane (DCE), and our research found that cations have a free energy minimum near the water-DCE interface.