Faculty Highlights

Fonseca dos Santos receives NSF grant to study electron beams

Physics professor Samantha Fonseca dos Santos has been awarded a new three-year federal research grant in the amount of $154,901 from the National Science Foundation for her project, “RUI: Decomposition of Organic Pollutants Using Electron Beams: A Theoretical Investigation.”

The project aims to investigate how effectively pulse electron beams can cause the dissociation of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide—toxic gases that participate in the formation of ground-level ozone and cause stratospheric ozone layer depletion—thereby reducing their emission. By the end of the project, Fonseca and her students expect to have improved the understanding of these reactions in order to pave the way for future techniques to clean dangerous gas emissions using electron beams.

At the same time, the project will create training and educational opportunities for undergraduate students to learn and get involved in state-of-the-art computational quantum chemistry techniques.

The award is part of NSF’s Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program, which is intended to facilitate research by faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions and encourage educational opportunities for undergraduate students. The grant will fund up to two undergraduate research positions annually.